Apps von Sky, DAZN, ZDF und ARD

Authorities stop international fraud on pay TV

Apps von Sky, DAZN, ZDF und ARD

The European Union’s judicial cooperation unit together with various international authorities allegedly disconnected more than 200 illegal servers. These were located in Germany, France and the Netherlands and were used to provide illegal pay TV services. Registered customers received the latest pay TV shows, movies and content on demand for a fraction of the usual cost. However, broadcast rights holders were left empty-handed. Since 2015, the group of perpetrators has caused an estimated damage of 6.5 million euros. The scammers transferred the resulting assets to foreign bank accounts.

Course of operation

Numerous national authorities participated in the international investigation. On the German side, the General Prosecutor’s Office in Frankfurt am Main, the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Wuppertal and the Hessian State Criminal Police Office participated. On the day of the action, officials seized evidence such as servers, digital devices, payment instruments and records. In addition, the authorities have blocked 150 PayPal accounts and identified 22 suspects. “The perpetrators are suspected of committing a number of large-scale fraud, cybercrime offenses and money laundering,” Eurojust said in a recent press release.

Customers don’t need to worry

Unlike content downloading, illegal streaming remains a legal gray area in Germany. The streamed content is only temporarily cached on the end device (buffer). This procedure is technically necessary in order to play the video smoothly.

As soon as the device is turned off again, the data is removed from the cache again. In the current case, however, it is no longer possible to speak of a gray area, because customers did not know that the services were illegal offers. Therefore, Eurojust spoke of “a wide audience of unsuspecting customers”. Therefore, it is more than unlikely that the affected end users will also be prosecuted for using the illegal streaming services.