Hey there, today I wanted to dig into the story behind the recent shutdown of the pirate IPTV service GoFastIPTV. You might‘ve heard about the rise of sketchy streaming sites offering cheap access to tons of pirated movies and shows. Well, GoFastIPTV was one of the biggest…until Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN hunted them down.
GoFastIPTV ultimately settled for around $70,000 in damages. To some that sounds pretty small compared to other streaming piracy penalties.
So will a settlement this modest really deter illegal streaming sites in the future? Let‘s look at the details of this case and what it says about the challenge of enforcing copyright in the digital age.
A Massive Pirate Operation
GoFastIPTV offered over 1,000 live TV channels, thousands of movies, and current shows for about $20/month. According to BREIN‘s investigation, they had around 15,000 subscribers at one point.
With potentially millions in illicit revenue, this was a huge pirated streaming operation. But it flew under the radar for a while before getting busted.
BREIN tracked payments made to an account associated with GoFastIPTV. After getting a court order, Dutch bank Rabobank shared this payment data which became key to identifying those behind the illegal service.
BREIN‘s Mission to Fight Piracy
You probably haven‘t heard of BREIN, but they‘ve been battling media piracy around the world for over 20 years.
BREIN is a non-profit group representing major entertainment companies and anti-piracy groups who want to crack down on copyright infringement online.
Just in the last few years, BREIN has targeted hundreds of illegal IPTV services enabling access to pirated streams. They monitor sites, acquire evidence, and pursue legal action to enforce rights holders‘ copyright claims.
But catching up to these fly-by-night streaming sites operators isn‘t always so easy…
Chasing Down the GoFastIPTV Operators
BREIN had to dig deep to identify and locate the individuals operating GoFastIPTV.
Their investigation followed a trail through various companies located in Brazil and the United Kingdom. BREIN was ultimately able to track payments to the Rabobank account controlled by the GoFastIPTV operators.
This payment info pointed BREIN to two suspects based somewhere in South America. After extended legal cooperation and negotiations, BREIN got one operator to settle.
But does the penalty reflect the huge scale of their pirated IPTV operation?
Is $70K Enough to Deter Piracy?
The negotiated deal resulted in around $70,000 USD in damages paid by one of the GoFastIPTV operators. BREIN explains the settlement includes these additional stipulations:
Fines of $28,000 per day if GoFastIPTV service is restored
$11,000 penalty for each future copyright infringement
Given how profitable GoFastIPTV likely was, some argue $70,000 seems like a modest penalty. For context, a recent case against IPTV provider Nitro TV ended in a judgement of over $100 million in damages!
According to Amsterdam-based intellectual property lawyer Thomas Chroust:
"A higher settlement could have sent a stronger warning to other pirate streaming sites. But tracking down and building a case against individuals across borders remains challenging. This result still deals a real blow to the operators."
The outcome reflects how complicated enforcement can be when taking legal action across jurisdictions. So what‘s the appeal of pirate streaming services that drives people to use them?
Why Do People Use Pirate Streaming Sites?
I don‘t want to downplay the importance of respecting copyright law. But it‘s worth understanding why many consumers are drawn to cheap pirated streaming options:
Convenience: Services like GoFastIPTV offer a ton of content consolidated in one place. No hunting across different apps and sites.
Cost: Access to thousands of shows and movies for ~$20/month seems like a steal compared to legal options.
Immediate Access: Pirate sites often provide streams quickly after airing compared to next-day availability on legal platforms.
But there are ways to stream lots of content legally without going broke:
Streaming Service | Price | Pros | Cons
Sling TV | $40/mo | Affordable live TV streaming | Limited channel selection
Philo | $25/mo | Cheap live TV | No sports or news
Tubi | FREE | Huge on-demand library | Ads interrupt viewing
Pluto TV | FREE | 100s of live linear channels | Need internet connection
And you can often save money by bundling video services together. Like getting HBO Max included free with AT&T mobile plans.
While immediate access to anything and everything costs more, patience can pay off monetarily and legally!
The GoFastIPTV takedown definitely disrupted one huge pirate streaming operation. But I doubt we‘ve heard the last of IPTV piracy as consumer demand remains high.
This game of whack-a-mole will continue as copyright enforcement clashes with digital media access. Fines in the tens of thousands aren‘t always enough to deter lucrative illegal streaming at scale.
But I hope this case reminds us that while convenience and cost are compelling, lawful streaming is the only true safe bet. Protect yourself and your favorite shows in the long run!
What do you think of the GoFastIPTV penalty? Does it seem like enough to make a real impact? I‘d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!