Pirate IPTV Operator Ordered to Pay $231,000 in Damages *TorrentFreak

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A Swede has been convicted for selling subscriptions to the pirate IPTV service MacIPTV. The 21-year-old served around 3,000 customers and came to the attention of local anti-piracy group Rights Alliance in 2019, prompting a police investigation and criminal prosecution.

When it comes to anti-piracy investigations and prosecutions, Sweden is perhaps best known for its work against The Pirate Bay, but in recent years a new threat has emerged.

With torrent sites remaining fairly popular, Swedish authorities have also attempted to disrupt the market for pirate IPTV subscriptions, services that allow users to access premium live TV channels (plus movies and TV shows) at a fraction of the official market rate.

Last month, a 58-year-old man was ordered to pay four Swedish TV companies more than $164,000 in damages after he was found guilty of selling illegal subscriptions to IPTV services.

Sweden can now add another conviction to the list, one with even greater damages.

MacIPTV reported to police in 2019

Working on behalf of production companies SF Studios and Nordisk Film, in September 2019 anti-piracy group Rights Alliance reported one of several entities involved in supplying pirate IPTV subscriptions to the police.

According to the anti-piracy group, in addition to other content, the service has made around 24 of the Swedish companies’ films available without permission, including “Borg v McEnroe” and Becoming Astrid (aka “Young Astrid”).

A police investigation revealed that two of the films had been pulled from the service, but with 22 remaining live, it was determined that a prosecution was warranted.

Discontinued in 2021

Rights Alliance, which has initiated numerous similar lawsuits in the past, reports that the 21-year-old was arrested at his home in early 2021.

The investigation concluded that the service provided IPTV accounts to approximately 3,000 users over a 13-month period, for which payments of SEK 2.8 million (USD 306,000) were received via PayPal and bitcoin.

During the search, police found a bitcoin wallet containing 18 bitcoins, worth US$766,584 at today’s exchange rate. Around the same time as the suspect’s last interrogation, however, it was discovered that the wallet had been emptied.

A convicted man in Sweden

The defendant’s case was heard by the Swedish Patent and Market Court, a special division of the Stockholm District Court which deals with intellectual property matters.

The man admitted to having carried out work and maintenance on MacIPTV for which he received remuneration. However, he insisted he was not in a key role on the service and believed his work was legal.

He denied copyright infringement and accounting-related offenses while naming a person he met on Telegram as the operator of the IPTV service.

The court found the man guilty of copyright infringement and also convicted him of aggravated accounting offences. He was sentenced to 140 hours of community service and was ordered to pay damages and compensation of 2.1 million Swedish kronor (about $231,000) to the heirs.

According to Rights Alliance, MacIPTV attracted customers by claiming that its activity was legal. The verdict can be appealed until February 18, 2022.

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