Can I be fined for using illegal IPTV channel network?

an IPTV (internet protocol tvfor its abbreviation in English) is a system for viewing television channels on the Internet, moreover, similar to the platforms of the service streaming,

If we go a little deeper, users share links to join IPTV lists, keeping in mind that the channels offered can be viewed without the need to hire an operator, i.e., users have to access For content an application has to be downloaded on the Smart TV.

These lists are servers that store channels on remote IP addresses in m3u format, however, Most are illegal as they contain pirated content from payment platforms Which user share through P2P technology.

recently, At 20bits we talk about the first fines in Europe for IPTV users, Italy declared the success of a campaign against audiovisual piracy, and although it initially targeted the criminals behind the networks, it is now prosecuting and fining users.

But, is the surveillance being carried out by the Italian police legal? María Cerviño (Head of the Technological Law and Startups Area at Vento Abogados y Asesores) confirms that “we will have to wait for the judicial decisions that resolve the appeals against the fines received by about 1,600 users. We are facing a conflict between the intellectual property rights of the providers and the privacy of the users, This type of tracking may violate users’ right to privacy, but ultimately it is up to the courts to decide which right prevails.”

On the other hand, Antonio Ángel Cardador Rodríguez (partner of the firm Cardador y Marín Abogados, a firm dedicated to digital law and new technologies) indicates that “the information received by users registered in this IPTV infrastructure has not been approved by judicial means, but through administrative means, based on, among others, decriminalization law No.689 dated 11/24/1981. Italy’s constitution does not explicitly include a right to data protection And yes, the right that no one can be punished on the basis of the law in force before the enactment of the Act.

torrentfreak explains 1,600 letters were sent to various users identified as IPTV channel subscribers, The said letter indicated a fine of 154 euros, or up to 1,032 euros in case of recidivism, although they can reduce the fine to 51 and 344 euros if they make an advance payment within a period of 60 days.

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But why is the use of IPTV illegal?

The use of an IPTV is not illegal in Spain, taking into account that according to Law 13/2022, of July 7, on General Audiovisual Communication, authorized media are allowed to re-broadcast it while using the system.

However, “this is illegal and the law punishes offenses against intellectual property, including the emission of material infringes intellectual property which is carried out through broadcast media such as IPTV, unless When there is a direct or indirect economic benefitand for damages to third parties,” Cardador Rodríguez clarifies.

Just like that, European Commission works to develop anti-piracy law by 2023 Which prohibits and punishes the use of illegal dissemination of material subject to intellectual property. However, if the user enters into a service contract with a provider that has acquired rights, the content and its transmission will not be illegal.

To watch series or movies it is necessary to open VLC media player.

Could the same thing happen in Spain as in Italy?

According to Cerviño, “There are large police campaigns against unlicensed IPTV in Spain, but we are not aware that these types of methods are used in investigations. It cannot be denied that the trend of focussing on the user will continueBut this type of interference with the privacy of individuals would be very difficult to justify.”

Cardador Rodríguez coincides with Cerviño: “en España, Police action will be limited to judicial authorityHowever, nothing shall prevent earlier measures to ensure offenses relating to intellectual property. And these measures may include tracking and recruiting users who use IPTV to access service providers broadcasting this illegal content. In practice though, The action will be more limited than that taken by the Italian police in this regard,

The intervention would affect fundamental rights enshrined in the Spanish Constitution, among others, art. 18 CE which indicates that “the law shall limit the use of information technology to guarantee the dignity and personal and family privacy of citizens and the full exercise of their rights”.

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“In these cases, all measures should be taken Designed to protect intellectual property rights, whereby the consolidated text is approved in order to regularize, clarify and harmonize the existing legal provisions on the matter. Or what is more general generally for the specific case of activity that concerns us, what is the transmission of material subject to intellectual property rights through unauthorized IPTV platforms, through criminal proceedings, in this case of the offense of Art. considered as. 270 and 271 of the Criminal Code, which specifically penalize both the individual and the service providers,” says Cardador Rodríguez.

In case of such effect, prison sentence of up to six years and special disqualification for the practice of the profession related to the offense committed for a period of two to five years.

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