Last week several government groups started to go after IPTV service owners. These services often offer a large number of channels for a low price. In recent years content owners have been suing IPTV services, but now it seems the war on IPTV and piracy has moved into a new phase.
The IRS has recently started to look into IPTV owners and owners of other piracy services for unpaid taxes and/or money laundering, according to a report from TorrentFreak. The first big news to break was that the owner of the IPTV service Gears Reloaded had been raided by the FBI over his taxes and IPTV service.
According to a report from New Zealand, the IRS, in partnership with New Zealand police, have seized over $6 million from someone in connection with running an IPTV service. According to the report, because the crimes took place in the United States moving the funds into New Zealand triggered the money-laundering investigation.
This is just the start. It has been confirmed that police have other individuals under investigation in the United States, Canada, and Vietnam. This is also the second case this year where the IRS used a tip from PayPal to go after money earned from piracy.
In the past, many have said that because the people running some of these IPTV and piracy services do not live in the United States there was nothing US laws could do. Now the IRS is using treaties with other countries to go after individuals for money laundering.
Taxes and money laundering aren’t the end of the criminal probes. According to the owner of the IPTV service Gears Reloaded, the FBI not only visited him over his tax issues but also the IPTV service he ran.
No matter what comes of these investigations, this marks a new change in the war on piracy and IPTV in the United States. In the past these cases had been civil cases with content owners suing owners. Now it looks like the IRS has taken interest in possible unpaid taxes from these services.