Jan 21, 2019

How the pirate tables have turned

This has to be one of the more ironic news stories we have reported here. First, some background. TVZion is a pirate app that operates in the same way that Netflix or PrimeVideo does: users either download the app or navigate to the website, create an account, and access content to stream. While Netflix and Prime require payment, TVZion has a free to use system that is supported by advertising revenue.

However, the developer (who is identified only by the handle "developer" online and shall henceforth be known as The Developer Who Must Not Be Named or "Dev the Pirate" for short) also operates a 'premium' service for which users are invited to pay a monthly fee for advert-free access and priority requests (to add more illegal content).

Dev the Pirate is, however, learning about the cost of piracy. TVZion has been a target for other pirates. Naturally, those seeking illegal content are willing to breach terms of service and intellectual property rules in order to consume their content. It seems logical therefore that they would also be willing to illegally access premium features on an illegal pirate streaming service. And that is exactly what they are doing. In their droves.

Dev recently posted on Reddit, exacerbated to have discovered that 35% of the premium users of TVZion were in fact non-paying pirates accessing it from modified software. Dev was obviously quite cross about this. The post to Reddit suggested several less than legitimate tactics to fight this pirated access: from recording the digital footprint of users and storing such data for leverage later, to turning the accessing machine into a proxy and using it to mine cryptocurrencies.

The reaction was unsurprising. From the Alanis Morissette references to the outraged paying customers furious at the notion that their IP details may be logged, Dev quickly found out he or she was the bad guy in this instance. Users did, of course, highlight the irony of complaining about pirates using Dev's piracy app, but more than that, dozens of TVZion paid customers announced their departure from the service.

It seems that while Dev the Pirate may have intended to unite TVZion's userbase against a common enemy (pirates, so…. themselves?), the result was to turn people off the product entirely due to the suggestions of nefarious data logging and proxying.

If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniel & Co. on 0191 281 4000 or legal@mcdanielslaw.com.



in: Copyright, News

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