In September 2019, the IPTV market was thrown into turmoil following a huge law enforcement operation in Europe.
Italy’s Guardia di Finanza (GdF), a law enforcement agency under the authority of the Minister of Economy and Finance, reported that the main targets were IPTV management system Xtream-Codes and its operators.
With an estimated 700,000 users of the system prevented from accessing the platform directly and 50 million end clients disrupted globally, the immediate fallout was unprecedented.
Despite some reports in the media to the contrary, Xtream-Codes was essentially just an IPTV management system that provided no content whatsoever, infringing or otherwise. Nevertheless, Italian authorities and anti-piracy groups branded Xtream-Codes an illegal pirate service and over the months and years that followed, revealed no evidence to the contrary, despite repeating the claims regularly.
In January 2021, operating company Xtream Codes Ltd broke its silence to protest new claims that it was behind Xtream-Codes replacement Xtream UI, but that did little to stop similar allegations in the months ahead. Xtream Codes Ltd now hopes to set the record straight with a new announcement.
‘No Evidence Xtream Codes Ltd Acted Unlawfully’
After staying quiet for nearly a year, Xtream Codes Ltd has revealed the existence of court processes in Italy. The company says that following an earlier appeal, on August 3, 2021, the Court of Appeals of Naples found there was no evidence to show that Xtream Codes Ltd acted illegally at any time between 2015 and its closure in 2019.
Supporting text, provided by the company, indicates that the court acknowledged the failure of Italian police to carry out a specific and detailed analysis of billing data seized from Xtream Codes to determine profits from alleged crimes. Instead, they simply added up the amounts on all invoices issued from 2015 to 2019 and came up with a profit figure based on all turnover.
“This is a modality that could be shared only if one were to hypothesize that the company was created by the present appellants for the exclusive purpose of carrying out the actions that are the subject of these proceedings, only then could the entire activity carried out over the years be considered illicit, to the point of identifying the profit with the total proceeds earned,” the Court said, according to Xtream Codes’s statement.
In summary, no evidence was produced to show that any revenue generated by Xtream Codes Ltd was illegal. An appeal by the prosecutor to Italy’s Supreme Court of Cassation was dismissed.
Xtream Codes Ltd Celebrates
The company says that since all revenue seized by the authorities was deemed lawful by the Court of Naples, it has now been released. The company also hopes that being branded a ‘pirate service’ by the authorities and anti-piracy groups will now be a thing of the past.
“The first step towards reaching the TRUTH has therefore been taken. A truth that we are obliged to share with you, since no newspaper, large or small, published this news even though in 2019, when our platform was shut down, tons of articles, including highly defamatory ones, were written against us,” the company says.
“Even the Guardia di Finanza itself, in a recent post at the end of May 2022, insisted on calling our company a ‘worldwide pirate platform,’ even though the Court of Appeal of Naples made it clear that there was not the slightest evidence within their investigative activities to suggest the unlawfulness of Xtream Codes Ltd.”
Having this court ruling in hand is clearly a big victory for Xtream Codes Ltd, not least since prosecutions turn on evidence and there appears to be none supporting the claims that the company operated illegally. This does not signal an abrupt end to all legal matters related to all parties affected by the huge raids in September 2019, but it’s a significant milestone nonetheless.
From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.