Eighty illegal IPTV sellers have been hit with a $3.5 million tax bill after authorities in Sweden caught on to their piracy operation, according to Torrent Freak.
One of the reasons illegal streaming services are so popular is because they cut out taxes that might otherwise be added to a customer’s bill when using a legal service. Swedish Tax Agency, or Skatteverket, began conducting investigations on the providers who didn’t declare their income or pay consumption tax on their sales.
Skatteverket said between 2021 and 2023, it identified illegal sellers by searching online and making test purchases. From there, the agency identified 200 retailers and chose 97 for an in-depth investigation.
While over a dozen investigations are still ongoing, Skatteverket said the amount due in taxes is over SEK 37,000,000, or $3.5 million, but the bill is likely to climb.
Sweden has seen an increase in illegal IPTV service viewership in recent years, but anti-piracy resources in Europe are stretched and underfunded.
Illegal IPTV services are a massive issue around the world. Just this week, an ongoing international anti-piracy campaign shut down over 600 illegal IPTV services and other websites.
Entertainment companies and government agencies have been fighting against pirates for decades, and there’s seemingly no end in sight to the battle. As more legal streaming services launch and raise their prices, illegal means of media consumption become more attractive to viewers hoping to save money.