Will illegal IPTV TV kill your favorite programs?

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Ultimately, using IPTV could threaten the future of the biggest sports competitions, hit series and other entertainment offered by TV channels. For good reason: the good health of the audiovisual sector is based on a value chain unbalanced by the expansion of this system. Explanations.

As 8% of Walloon households and 1% of Brussels (according to RTBF estimates) you may have been seduced by the IPTV. Up to 9,000 TV channels, including Belgian and sports stations for a subscription of about 90 euros per year and the purchase of a box sold up to 100 euros on the internet. Comparing with the offers offered by traditional distributors in Belgium (Proximus, Voo, Telenet, Orange), the calculation is quickly made …

But do you know that in the process, you enter the illegality? Indeed, the IPTV is not without risk for its users, because this system does not compensate the strings for the copyright of the diffused contents (films, series, music, sports transmissions). “In this sense, this service is illegal,” said a few days ago Fernand De Visscher, a lawyer specializing in the law of information and communication technology, and subscribers face fines or penalties from prison.

In practice, convictions of this type are unlikely to occur. Paul Van den Bulck, another lawyer specializing in information technology and data protection explained to the newspaper Le Soir that “for consumers, the risks are low compared to what we gain from this illegal consumption.

Imagine the work for a rights holder to identify all individuals responsible for counterfeiting and assign them for amounts that are worthwhile.And there is still a difference between individuals and merchants or cafe makers who offer them a public broadcast The rights holders will instead look for those responsible for the illegal network as individuals. “

Quality is paid for

But these individuals are involved in the expansion of a market that harms the audiovisual sector as a whole and may ultimately threaten the existence of the very programs that its users enjoy watching.

“The balance of the audiovisual sector is based on a chain of values,” says Harun Fenaux, spokesperson for Proximus. “The TV channel pays the rights holders of the series or films, for example, via the money paid to them by operators like us, customers pay Proximus, Proximus pays the channels, the channels pay the rights holders. Consumers are bypassing this channel with IPTV, people who ultimately are not paid, the money goes directly into the pockets of those who have implemented this new system.These people are thieves. “

Producing and producing quality content requires resources. Consumers may not always be aware of it, but they are indirectly involved in funding the programs they watch.

“Lovers of art, TV shows, etc. must know that if we want quality content, we must pay the rights holders.If we continue to advertise through word of mouth or other for this robbery, rights holders will no longer be paid and the content will be less and less qualitative, “said the spokesman who states, not without some relief, that the IPTV does not (still) harm the activities of the firm.

“We have not seen a substantial drop in our subscribers, and people who take IPTV do so in addition to their Proximus subscription, so our role is to strive to offer an attractive package at an acceptable cost. prevent the development of other alternative but illegal offers. “

Immobilisme of the Belgian authorities

The development of pirate television is far from a trend. The latest report of the European Audiovisual Observatory states that between 2008 and 2017, the growth of pay TV was led by IPTV at 61%. The attitude towards the phenomenon is different according to the EU member countries.

In Spain, for example, there has been a great awareness of the authorities who have made major cuts in the distribution channels. But in Belgium, nada. A lack of reactive response … Le Soir reports that in 2017, the public service had filed a complaint with the CSA against two networks which proposed in its offer the chains of the RTBF.

The IP addresses of these networks were based in Algeria and Lithuania, and the regulatory authorities of both countries were contacted. The first did not follow through. The other could not identify the company behind the IP address. The complaint never ended …

Meanwhile, the IPTV has literally sprouted one with resellers who offer discounted decoders exposed in their showcase. Belgian operators and content publishers have no choice but to rely on the good sense of consumers.

“The video quality offered by IPTV is not optimal: if you put two screens side by side and compare images with those that a conventional operator can offer, there is no picture “, says Marie-Pierre Dinsart, director of communication at VOO / Be tv. “If individuals want to take full advantage of their super TV installation, they have a better interest in opting for an operator like ours, not to mention that their IPTV connection can be cut off at any time and they will have invested for nothing. there is no possible recourse, since it is illegal. “

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