Sky takes on TeaTV, CucoTV and Cinema HD *TorrentFreak
British broadcaster Sky has never been particularly fond of people pirating its content.
It’s a battle that’s been raging for over 30 years, and while there’s no apparent end in sight, Sky continues to fight, make rounds, and hope for a victory on points.
From its roots as Sky Television to its teenage years as BSkyB, Sky has fought everything from hacking boxes and smart cards to smart card blocking and smart card emulation. Not even map sharing dented Sky’s enthusiasm for a pirate brawl.
Sky’s latest nemesis is the commercial IPTV provider. Using captured satellite and cable feeds or even its own NowTV streaming service, today’s Sky faces the most organized pirates the company has ever seen, and in greater numbers too. But while this war rages in the background, Sky is ensuring that other aspects of internet piracy are also taken care of.
Small applications, major irritation
Over the past decade, Android-based hacking apps have given Sky a headache along with the rest of the entertainment industries. Popcorn Time, Showbox, Mobdro and Terrarium TV all played their part – at least before each succumbed to legal pressures.
The problem for Sky is that it’s easier than ever for today’s skilled programmers to find an alternative. Although anti-piracy groups claim to have taken down hundreds of them, new apps or resurrections of old ones never fail.
Indeed, despite multiple attempts by Sky to wipe the same few apps, they still tend to bounce back one way or another.
Sky, MPA and ACE vs. TeaTV: Seconds Out, Round 6
In 2020, the Motion Picture Association decided to disrupt popular streaming app TeaTV. The app had featured in a widely read article published by CNBC before disappearing offline, but a big comeback was still on the cards.
The MPA tried to get TeaTV operator permanently banned from Github and since the MPA is behind the anti-piracy group ACE (and Sky is a member of this coalition), the broadcaster would have given its full support. But despite four matching games with Github, the ultimate goal of killing the app remained elusive.
TeaTV turned out to be quite a strong brew, despite the suspension from his Twitter account. Thanks to strong branding it managed to stay in the game, but if today’s variant (of which there are several) is/are the same and/or operated by the original developer is a question for people with a lot of free time.
The bottom line is that it still exists and Sky still isn’t giving up. In a new move against TeaTV, an anti-piracy firm representing Sky Group’s Sky Italia is following the familiar pattern of demanding the app be removed from Github.
“We are writing in the name and on behalf of Sky Italia Srl, exclusive owner of the distribution and exploitation rights for the Sky IT channels. This IPTV (TeaTV) application includes illegal and unauthorized Pay Tv Sky IT TV series: Gomorrah, ” Kojra SRL writing.
In an effort to help Github understand the problem, Kopjra provides a tutorial detailing where to find the app, how to download and install it, and ultimately how to search for infringing content before viewing it.
Sky vs. CucoTV: The Rematch
If TeaTV is an irritant to Sky, the movie and TV show streaming app CucoTV will certainly no longer be viewed positively. Anti-Piracy Group Kojra SRL asked Github take down a TeaTV website and repository in May 2021, but even that required an additional complaint weeks later to hopefully complete the task.
Predictably, ten months later the work was still not done, so another complaint was sent back to Github. Featuring a usual hacking tutorial, it prompted Github to respond with the necessary action.
Five months later, after a user called CucoTV moved to CucoTV2 and then to CucoappTV, a CucoTV-branded app reappeared on Github. This time it was Sky UK’s turn to spoil the hacking party with another tutorial and another persistent hacking app removal request.
Spoiler alert: CucoTV has reappeared
To absolutely no one’s surprise, a user called “cucotv2022” recently signed up on Github and proceeded to upload a CucoTV-branded streaming app to a repository with the same name.
Whoever it was also created a new website to promote free software, but the fun was short-lived. Another DMCA complaint filed on behalf of Sky UK successfully requested eliminating both.
CucoTV doesn’t seem to have much official presence on Github right now, but its Twitter account suggests that Discord may have become the latest hot location. In the meantime, Sky is maintaining its search engine delisting campaign against dozens of websites claiming to offer CucoTV for download.
Organized Hacking Meets Disorganized Hacking
Whether Sky will follow Discord remains to be seen, but the company remains vigilant as it identifies new threats on the back of existing ones.
Two days after the last successful teardown of CucoTV, a DMCA tracking notice from Sky has removed what appears to be the official repository for popular free streaming app CinemaHD, an app that also has links to similar services. In common with CinemaHD, they also have clones and imitators that muddy the waters.
To say that the “market” for hacking apps has become more complicated over the years is an understatement. If users put in enough effort and have enough patience, it is possible to track specific apps over time. But given the disruption caused by takedowns, which sometimes cause developers to “go dark” and come back with a similar app under a new name, not much is simple for long.
Opportunists who deliberately confuse to draw attention to their own tools are also a problem, especially for people who click on the first thing they find. Sky Withdrawal Notice sent to google reveal dozens of sites claiming to offer CucoTV, albeit in a suspicious file size range.
Sky is undoubtedly dealing with additional headaches due to this chaos, but if it’s any consolation, he’s not the only one when he takes the painkillers.