This huge sting operation is expected to impact the more than 500,000 subscribers of a powerful European IPTV service called “CyberGroup”. Italian authorities have been investigating the provision and sale of IPTV services since 2020. Police raids and searches had already been conducted in September and December 2020: the authorities had then announced to have brought down an IPTV platform with some 50,000 subscribers.

Nevertheless, the latest operation by the Milan police takes the fight against IPTV services into a different order of magnitude. According to the authorities, the dismantled network relied on a “complex technological infrastructure”: 20 suspects have been searched and are under investigation. The police also announced that they had identified the administrator of the CyberGroup service.

IPTV: a huge network with more than 500,000 subscribers has fallen

According to the Italian authorities, the network is so sophisticated that it could be described as a B2B Internet service provider for various IPTV sites and platforms. This explains the unprecedented scope of the operation. The rights holders welcome the success of the Italian police operation. One of the actors behind the complaint, Sky, explains in a press release:

“La Guarda di Finanza has the full support of Sky in its action against audiovisual piracy and we are pleased with today’s operation, the latest in a series of increasingly effective actions against this illegal phenomenon. Not only does audiovisual piracy fund organized crime and adversely influence the creative industry, but it poses a real risk to the end user.”

The secretary general of FAPAV an Italian association thanked the police force while noting that it would help legal offers become more deeply rooted in the habits of Internet users. Most TV channels in France offer live viewing via a player on their site and also on platforms such as Molotov.tv. Over the years, pay IPTV services have become particularly sophisticated.

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Some even go as far as marketing ready-to-use boxes that allow access to a vast catalog of illegal content for a subscription fee of a few dozen euros.