Internet TV, IPTV: how do you know if it’s legal or not? What does the consumer risk?


Police in several European countries have dismantled a vast online pay-TV platform piracy network, abbreviated as IPTV. This operation allowed the update and the deactivation of one of the illegal platform of IPTV, the most widespread among the hackers. This is indeed an illegal practice.

What is IPTV?

Imagine a small box that is connected to your Internet connection and your television. Once this little box connected, you have at your disposal several thousand Belgian channels, foreign, series, movies and many other programs, for a small number of euros per month, from your couch. Proximus, Telenet, Voo, offer Internet TV subscriptions, but these are completely legal. They pay fees to capture signals and redistribute them to consumers. Besides these famous IPTV, there are some whose practices are contrary to the law, as Paul Van Den Bulcke, an information technology lawyer, explains: “IPTV, in other words, internet TV, is, in itself, a means of communication neutral.This is a technology.Proximus makes legal IPTV.And you have illegal IPTV, which is because resellers do not pay the broadcast rights to channels who distribute these audiovisual content.These resellers manage to hack the signal emitted by the TV channels and make it available to consumers without paying for access to this signal, if you want. ” That’s why these pirate broadcasters can offer subscription rates so advantageous.

How much do subscriptions to illegal IPTV platforms cost?

The small box would cost between 7 and 15 euros. In the same way, the price of the subscription is also attractive, in comparison with those practiced by the operators like Proximus or Voo, or Telenet. After a little research on the online subscription sites, it turns out that for just 60 euros, it is possible to have access to the channels of many countries, or even several bouquets of football: the offer of Voo Sport, the offer of Be In Sport, …

So how to avoid being ripped off and falling into the illegal, several clues exist for the consumer. “There is a series of clues that distinguish a legal IPTV from an illegal IPTV.First, there is the price.If it is 10 euros for one year subscription, it is a clue. If you subscribe to a subscription to IPTV, and the company is based in Kazaghstan, or the website does not mention any address of its headquarters, or a business registry number, it must put you the chip to When you buy cheap branded products that are available in large quantities, you may suspect that this is a counterfeit, “said Paul Van Den Bulck.

What are the risks for those buying illegal IPTV platforms?

First, there is the risk of legal action. In 2017, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) signed a judgment in which it considers that the sale of these illicit cases could be considered as an infringement of copyright, and that the viewing of these contents could to be considered counterfeit. For Alexandre Pintiaux, a lawyer specializing in cultural matters, it is all stakeholders in the process who is involved in counterfeiting. They are all liable to prosecution by the judicial authorities. “This is actually the one at the origin of the broadcast, those that allow the dissemination, such as for example by distributing themselves the boxes that will allow access to illicit programs, and those who buy the boxes, knowing that ‘they will allow access to a program that is not legal at source, but not distributed here legally.’ Thus, it specifies that “in fact, we will not voluntarily go to consumers, because they are at the end of the chain and their involvement is completely diluted because of the multiplication of the number of consumers. a right-hander, we will rather head to the source, the one who starts the process of illegal distribution, or the intermediaries that allow access to boxes or things like that, which will be more interesting, because we will come to short -circuit the diffusion process in this way.

As for the consumer, he is less exposed to a court appearance. “Prosecution requires a lengthy court process that would be costly to finally fail to recover much, not to mention the significant backlog of cases.Therefore, in civil or criminal, the consumer does not risk much,” says our lawyer. “But there are other risks: consumer subscribes to this subscription, because the price is low, but there is no guarantee that he will receive the signal. Similarly, these boxes may contain viruses, or collect your private data. So it’s never very clever to put yourself in an illegal situation, “warns Paul Van Den Bulck.

But, these illegal IPTV companies are often installed in countries that do not collaborate very much on hacking. The challenge is then to find their trace, and if we can identify them, it is also difficult to launch legal proceedings in a country where procedures are long and expensive.

How many users involved in Belgium?

Today, it is difficult to estimate the number of Belgians subscribing to illegal IPTV platforms. But, lawyer Paul Van Den Bulck thinks that the practice is still widespread. “There is an upsurge in the purchase of subscriptions at the time of major sporting events.” In view of the attractive price and the faclity with which it is possible to get a case, no doubt it is a practice that must try more than one.

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