In September 2019, the pirate IPTV market was thrown into turmoil when the Guardia di Finanza (GdF), an Italian law enforcement agency under the authority of the Minister of Economy and Finance, targeted Xtream-Codes as part of a huge law enforcement operation.
Xtream-Codes, which was operated by a Bulgarian company, was not a pirate IPTV service. What the company provided was a software services package that allowed people to manage their own IPTV reselling services and customers. This did not deter the Italian authorities from describing Xtream-Codes as a pirate operation.
While in complex cases the devil is often in the detail and may yet reveal an element of wrongdoing (or otherwise), Xtream-Codes itself was a tool that helped people manage IPTV services and from a technical perspective, it did not matter whether those services were legal or illegal. In the same way that torrent clients have the ability to download and distribute infringing content, like Xtream-Codes they may also be put to legitimate uses that do not involve piracy.
Since the authorities are staying tight-lipped on the important details of the case as the investigation continues, information regarding potential intent or complicity (or otherwise) has yet to enter the public domain. However, for the second time in two months the former operators of Xtream-Codes have broken their silence to complain that behind the scenes, justice isn’t being done.
Xtream Codes Denies Being Part of Xtream UI
In the wake of the Xtream-Codes shutdown, hundreds of entities involved in the supply of IPTV that also relied on the company’s software were left without the necessary tools to do their work. That left an immediate gap in the market for replacement panels such as those offered by Streaminy, Fastocloud, Ezhometech, and the interestingly-named Xtream UI.
Xtream UI appeared in the wake of Xtream Codes’ demise and carries broadly the same features, having been based on the Xtream-Codes panel software. Given the name and history of the base tool, it now appears that authorities in Italy are making connections between the original and its apparent successor. That’s according to the former operators of Xtream-Codes who say the authorities’ assertions are wrong.
“Once again we are forced to issue a statement regarding the judicial events that unfairly involve us. It emerged that the investigating authorities are comparing the name of Xtream-Codes to that of another company, called Xtream UI, deducing that we are continuing to operate under the name of the latter,” the company said in an announcement this week.
“On this groundless and specious assertion it is necessary to be more than clear: XTREAM-CODES HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH XTREAM UI NOR WITH ANY OTHER COMPANY OR PRIVATE ENTITY WHO ILLEGALLY USES THE NAME OR THE XTREAM CODES SOFTWARE.”
In an effort to sever the links, the company has reportedly instructed its lawyers to take legal action to prevent Xtream UI from using its name moving forward. There is currently no mention of action against entities that rely on elements of Xtream-Codes’ software to provide a similar service.
Xtream-Codes: We’re Not Serving the IPTV Market
Last November, when the company first spoke in public after the raids in 2019, Xtream-Codes condemned its characterization by the authorities as a pirate service. It also explained how it had worked with “international judicial authorities” in order to “stop the phenomenon of piracy, to identify and stop those who illegally used our platform.”
However, that work did not extend to cooperation with the authorities in Italy, who saw no difference between Xtream-Codes and a number of customers who used the platform to infringe copyright. In November, Xtream-Codes said that there was never any attempt at collaboration to “intercept” around a dozen abusive users, a number that now appears to have grown.
“We are involved in an unfair trial for the mere fact that about 20 users out of 4000 are accused of illegally using our software without our knowledge, despite the lawfulness of the software and the company, on whose dividends we obviously paid taxes to the state of Bulgaria, where we are based,” the platform’s former operators explained.
“Since we suffered the forced closure of our company, we have been forced to exit the market, both because we were fully confident that the obvious conclusion that Xtream-Codes is totally unrelated to the work of some of its users would emerge in a short timeframe, and because materially our economic and mental resources must necessarily be used in this unfair process that involves us.”
Why Hasn’t the IPTV Market Collapsed?
The picture painted by the authorities at the time of the raids in 2019 was that Xtream-Codes was vital to the pirate IPTV market, providing the necessary backbone to make it function. However, while traffic did indeed collapse in a big way immediately after the systems were taken down, recovery wasn’t far away.
Indeed, pirate IPTV services in 2020 were still being described by many rightsholders as a major threat and as Xtream-Codes quite rightly points out, its demise at the hands of the authorities doesn’t appear to have achieved much.
“Beyond the serious injustice that emerges from this information, it should however be noted that according to the thesis of the investigators, Xtream-Codes should be the backbone of the illegal IPTV market. Yet, we cannot help but notice, also thanks to what the media reported, that more than a year after the closure of Xtream-Codes, the illegal IPTV market seems more flourishing than ever,” the company noted.
“Could it be that Xtream-Codes, as well as any other company offering software similar to ours, is not the cause of the spread of the illegal IPTV market? Could it be that the investigators are following a totally wrong path that irremediably involves our company which could be considered a European excellence at the time of closure?
“Time will give us the answer to these questions. Meanwhile, we remain at the disposal of the investigating authorities and remain confident in the work of the judiciary,” the company concludes.
From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.