Pirate IPTV Providers “Leverage PayPal, Mastercard and Visa Branding” * TorrentFreak


In the summer of 2018, a report by anti-piracy firm Irdeto examined the payment processing capabilities of 400 pirate IPTV provider sites. He revealed that the majority (76%) openly advertise their payment options, with Visa, Mastercard and PayPal in the lead.

Irdeto’s strong message was that these payment processors should support legitimate media organizations by exercising better due diligence and stopping support for pirate streaming services.

“If media organizations threaten to vote with their feet against payment platforms that allow hacking, it will be fascinating to see who blinks first,” the report said.

At the time, we wondered if this type of threat was the best way to achieve change. Now, more than two years later, the tone seems to have mellowed somewhat while still carrying a serious message.

Branding of the Pirates Expolit payment processor

Although less publicized than the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, there is no doubt that the Anti-Piracy Audiovisual Alliance is a force to be reckoned with. The anti-piracy group currently has 30 members, including tech companies Irdeto and Nagra, as well as content owners and broadcasters such as BT, BeiN Sports, DAZN, LaLiga, Premier League and Sky.

This week, the group again raised the issue of payment processor support for pirate IPTV providers, but presented it a little differently. According to the AAPA, among others, the inclusion of payment processor logos on payment portals gives them an air of legitimacy while undermining the brands of processors.

“From a hacker’s perspective, they want consumers to pay for the services they offer. Their professional-looking websites are already fooling many unsuspecting consumers into believing they are a legitimate supplier. This veneer of authenticity is further reinforced by hackers often using several services from well-known payment providers to facilitate the purchase of subscriptions, ”reports AAPA.

The underlying suggestion is that the emergence of brands like Visa and Mastercard not only enables payment processing, but also leads to increased consumer confidence in illegal services. The big question then is how the situation has changed since the Irdeto report of 2018.

Improvement from 2018, but not enough, according to AAPA

In 2018, among sites that openly published payment methods, 21% offered Visa, 21% offered Mastercard, and 14% offered payment through PayPal. Since then, AAPA has said it has engaged with all three companies and, according to a study by its disruption task force, PayPal now ranks first at 17.3%, Mastercard at 14.7% and Visa just behind with 14.1%.

aapa iptv payment

“The question for the payment services industry and policymakers is how do so many sites slip through the net of preventative measures – some of which are legal requirements like anti-money laundering regulations? Of course, any ex ante system is not waterproof and can be bypassed, but the evidence suggests that there is still a long way to go. But by whom? AAPA asks.

AAPA’s engagement with the “big three”

Although PayPal is now the biggest player in the IPTV market according to AAPA’s own study, the anti-piracy group is voicing no criticism of the payment processor.

“PayPal and AAPA have a long-standing relationship. PayPal is committed to finding a viable solution to combat the impact of piracy on the industry and on its brand. The issues are discussed openly and constructively, ”says AAPA.

Visa also receives modest praise, but with slight reservations.

“From our interactions with Visa, we know they have very strict internal procedures in place,” writes AAPA. “These proceedings may include multiple cease and desist notices and may require proof via a test. [IPTV] purchase. All of this takes time as the hacking continues unchallenged. Visa of course protects its rights and interests, and so do AAPA members, ”the group said, calling for compromises to find common ground.

As for the assessment of Mastercard’s efforts, AAPA says it is “a little too early to tell” with the suggestion that meaningful cooperation has yet to begin in earnest.

Opportunities for improvement

In general, the AAPA believes that the way forward for all processors is to be more attentive to due diligence issues, preferably reinforced and monitored by a third party or MoU. Proactive monitoring to ensure compliance with processor terms and conditions is also high on the list of requirements.

Referring to a working paper released by the European Union Intellectual Property Office, AAPA also identifies the need for a more streamlined system for rights holders to complain about pirate sites and view their websites. terminated services.

In addition, rights holders are looking for a transparent system that shows how certain “repeat offenders” are treated by payment processors.

IPTV and cryptocurrencies

Looking at Irdeto’s 2018 report, cryptocurrencies only accounted for 4.3% of all payment methods openly advertised by pirate IPTV providers. According to the latest figures, this share has now reached nearly 12%. The AAPA describes the increase as “not huge” and puts forward various theories as to why the absorption is not greater.

“It could be the instability of cryptocurrencies, a sinister association with hacking and ransom demands, or the fact that most consumers don’t know how to use crypto,” the group said.

It seems likely, at least among less tech-savvy IPTV users, that the latter is more likely to be a factor. After all, the most convenient payment methods – PayPal and credit / debit cards – are still the most popular despite a constant level of cooperation with rights holders.

This raises the question of whether the crackdown on simpler forms of payment will have a significant effect on the penetration of pirate IPTV services in the market.

In the short term, the answer appears to be a strong ‘yes’, but over time consumers are likely to become accustomed to using crypto as well, making the transition from traditional payment methods a gradual matter rather than a gradual one. ‘sudden culture shock overnight.

There is also evidence in the market suggesting that IPTV providers are encouraging their customers to switch to crypto sooner rather than later. Part of this could be due to pressure from payment processors, but providers are also keen to secure their operations by making law enforcement ‘money-tracking’ investigations considerably more difficult.

This leaves the prospect of significant action on the part of traditional processors, ultimately forcing a big shift towards crypto and creating even bigger problems that will be considerably more difficult to solve.


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