Local internet providers are helping the authorities identify illegal IPTV streams and consequently blocking broadcasts.

Earlier this month, Malta took part in a crackdown led by Italy’s financial crime police which seized the equivalent of €10.6 million in equipment and assets related to Internet Protocol Television (IPTV).

Local police seized dozens of IPTV devices from at least one person as part of the Italian operation against the illegal delivery of television content over the internet.

A Melita spokesperson said the international effort by copyright owners to protect their content from illegal distribution was growing, and following an injunction filed by IMG on behalf of Lega Nazionale Professionisti Serie A, Melita and its industry peers put in place procedures to identify illegal IPTV streams.

IMG have the global rights to Italian football’s Serie A outside Italy.

As a result of these procedures, a number of illegal broadcasts have been blocked.

Melita will continue to help the authorities and such action will not have any impact on other customers’ internet connections, the spokesperson reassured.

“Melita never limits the bandwidth to which customers are entitled to as long as usage remains within our standard terms. We can confirm that to date, despite taking up significant bandwidth during simultaneous viewing of live events, IPTV services have rarely affected the internet speeds of other customers.

“However, if the illegal use of bandwidth continues to grow, eventually the streaming of legal services such as Netflix may suffer,” Melita warned.

The spokesperson added that illegal IPTV streamers were often hacked, leaving consumers’ devices and home networks open to viruses and other malware. 

A spokesperson for GO also warned that while illegal live-streaming sites did not impact other customers’ internet service provision, they do create cybersecurity concerns.

The spokesperson insisted that GO never throttled speeds and it has been instructed to block specific IP addresses.

This means that only internet customers accessing these streams would be impacted, purely on the basis of the blocking of the IP address.

“We have always blocked those illegal content that the authorities instruct us to. No more, no less,” the spokesperson said.

“We would however like to clarify that our content is all legal... these blocks are not, in any way, related to our content.”

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