Sky has reportedly won a High Court order in the UK to force ISPs to block pirate sites from being able to illegally stream both its sports content and entertainment shows

Ahead of the start of the 2023/24 football season, broadcasters and regulators are targeting illegal streaming services.

In Italy, regulator Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni (AGCOM), has announced it will block pirated websites within 30 minutes of the start of a programme.

AGCOM said it intends to block the DNS resolution of domain names as well as the routing of network traffic to unique IP addresses.

Meanwhile, in the UK Sky has reportedly won a High Court order to force internet service providers to block pirate sites from being able to illegally stream both its sports content and entertainment shows.

According to the FT, the order requires online platforms to block viewers from illegally accessing linear channels at a specific time, eg at the start of a Premier League match.

Sky will be able to shut down individual pirate sites at a specific time, says the report. A third-party vendor will identify the source of the illegal stream via IP address or dedicated servers, it adds.

The information will then be passed on to ISPs who will block viewers accessing those locations via their network.

“Blocking has been shown to be an extremely effective tool in tackling content piracy and is just one of a range of measures we take to protect our content and our business,” a Sky spokesperson told the FT.



The online repository should pay nearly a million crowns for allowing the Czech film Šarlatán to be downloaded despite repeated warnings.

The legal battles between film distributors and the Ulož.to online repository have reached another stage. Both sides have had alternating success in court. Last week, justice took the side of the film distributor CinemArt. On Thursday, the Municipal Court in Prague ruled that Ulož.to should pay CZK 976,000 for allowing the downloading of the biographical drama Šarlatán without the consent of the copyright holders.

The film was available on Ulož.to for at least two years, even repeated warnings from the rights holders did not help.

According to Hospodářské noviny, which reported on the non-final judgment, this is the first successful lawsuit for monetary compensation against similar servers. Ulož.to is appealing the verdict and believes that CinemArt will ultimately receive no compensation.

The disc with the film could be easily found on Ulož.to at the time of writing this article. Various evasions delay and prolong legal disputes. The repository has recently changed the nature of the service and its operator. The current name is Ulož.to Disk, technically it is presented as a cloud service with external search, and the operator is Cloud Platforms a.s. based in Most.

The dispute concerns the operation of the server in its previous form, which was operated by Petacloud. The same people are acting on behalf of that company and the current Cloud Platforms, both companies have their seats at the same address in Most. Petacloud has been subject to an enforcement procedure since May this year because of another case related to the fact that Ulož.to allowed the uploading and downloading of the TV Prima series Duch. In addition, the Court keeping the Register of Companies has initiated proceedings to have the company dissolved because it has not filed documents in the Collection of Deeds for a long time.

How did the court arrive at the amount of CZK 976,000 in the Šarlatán case? According to CinemArt, it corresponds to the amount for which it sells licenses to use similarly successful films. And they could ask for even more. As the judge noted the licensing fees can range from hundreds of thousands to millions of crowns. And because the dispute relates to unauthorised use of the work, the copyright holder could demand double the normal price under the law.

“The judgement contains many errors and shows a lack of understanding of the issue, which we, unfortunately, encounter regularly in courts of first instance. The higher courts agree with us in these disputes but unfortunately, this often takes a very long time, and the opposing party takes advantage of that,” says Ulož.to, disputing the damage caused.

The repository disagrees with the legal conclusion the judge reached. It argues that as a cloud service provider, it does not use any works and thus cannot infringe copyright. “As such, the first and key condition for a claim for unjust enrichment (as the court held) is not satisfied. Even the Supreme and Constitutional Courts have previously confirmed our opinion,” Ulož.to states.

The judge accepted CinemArt’s arguments that Petacloud could avoid paying the court-ordered amount. She, therefore, ordered Ulož.to to pay CZK 976,000 within three days of receiving the judgment. But even that does not mean CinemArt will get the money. This follows from the operator’s response to the judgment.

“The alleged ‘damages’, the payment of which has been ordered by a ruling that is not final but has an immediate effect, will not be paid to CinemArt but will be deposited in a lawyer’s custody. It is for the Court of Appeal to decide whether the funds will be returned to Ulož.to or paid to CinemArt. Given the numerous errors in the judgment, we naturally expect to recover the funds,” the repository added in its media statement.

Ulož.to considers it absurd that a repository operator should provide compensation for unjust enrichment whenever user-generated content infringing copyright appears on its commercial platform. Ulož.to argues that applying this logic, even the world’s major platforms allowing content to be uploaded to them could not operate.

The file search has not been running on the Ulož.to domain since the beginning of this year. Instead, the repository redirects users to Gozo or other search engines such as Google, DuckDuckGo, or Seznam when a keyword is entered. Gozo states on its website that it does not store search history or collect any personal data. The search engine does not have any company contact details apart from email and a form, and the domain is registered anonymously.

Ulož.to is also facing other lawsuits initiated, for example, by Prima TV or Nova TV. Since January, copyright holders have had a stronger position thanks to an amendment to the Copyright Act. Simply put, the amendment introduced the principle that repositories like Ulož.to should actively seek permission in advance for copyrighted content that might appear on them. Very large platforms with more than five million users a month have an obligation to prevent the uploading of works about which the copyright holders have provided the relevant and necessary information and which they do not wish to be distributed on the repository.

Platforms that are used by fewer than five million users per month must remove the work upon notification by the rights holders and do everything possible to prevent it from being re-uploaded.

The changes to Ulož.to were made after the amended Copyright Act had come into force at the beginning of January. The repository became a cloud service. “In Czech conditions, this is the most common self-protection of those running a business at the expense of copyright holders,” said Klára Brachtlová who presented the situation of the fight against pirated content on the internet on behalf of the Association of Commercial Television at the Digimedia conference in June.

Repository operators use various creative ways to complicate the enforcement of legal obligations. Services purposely change their names or terms and conditions; one company is liquidated and another one is created immediately afterwards. It is also typical to change the operator when the service is facing a lawsuit. The physical seats of companies use virtual office services.

The Association of Commercial Television suggests taking inspiration from abroad. Responsibility for operating online content-sharing services should not only be held by legal entities (companies) but also by specific people. The Czech legal system could also introduce the last-resort option of blocking access to a particular server that infringes copyright on a mass scale. Such options exist in Greece, Italy, Lithuania, France, and other countries.

TV stations argue that they lose money from broadcast advertising if users download content from an online repository. In addition, these sources include unaired episodes that have exclusive previews on pay services such as Voyo or Prima+. More money is thus lost due to unpurchased subscriptions. TV stations also complain that repositories attach their own online advertising to the downloads, thus adorning themselves with borrowed plumes and engaging in unfair competition by using another party’s unlicensed content for their own commercial purposes.



In the first half of this year, Czech Television stations had the highest share of all-day viewership in the over-15 age target group. However, compared to the same period last year, commercial TV stations improved mainly.

Czech Television stations recorded a cumulative share of 30,10 % in the total daily audience target group over the age of 15 in the first half of this year and became the most watched stations on the czech market. This is according to the official ATO-Nielsen audience measurement data for the period from 1st January to 30th June 2023.

The Nova Group achieved the highest share in prime time in the 15+ group and confirmed its leadership in the 15-54 and 15-69 audience groups in both daytime and evening broadcasts.

The Prima Group increased its share in the 15+ group and confirmed its position as the second most watched group in this audience category. It was third strongest in prime time 15+ as well as in the 15-54 and 15-59 groups.

In year-on-year comparisons, the commercial entities fared particularly well. The Nova group (more strongly in prime time), Atmedia and Television Seznam increased their shares the most.

Of the individual stations, the best performer was Seznam Television, which posted a 0.69 percentage point year-on-year increase to 1.48% in the first half of the year (15+, all day). Prima Krimi (+0.57 ppts. to 3.86%), Nova Gold (+0.47 ppts. to 1.90%), CNN Prima News (+0.28 ppts. to 2%) and CT2 (0.38 ppts. to 4.37%) also increased their share significantly. Other thematic stations of the Nova and Prima groups also increased their share slightly. The main channel Nova achieved almost the same result in this year’s first half as in the same period last year (+0.03 p.p.), while the main channels CT1 and TV Prima were slightly behind their last year’s half-year result (all for 15+ full days).



The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) has shut down Cuevana3, Latin America’s most notorious illegal streaming service.

This comes after the anti-piracy coalition identified the operator in the Piura District of Peru.

In a statement, ACE says that Cuevana3, formerly known as, is the largest Spanish-language piracy streaming service in the LATAM region and ranked number one for website traffic over the past four years, according to data analytics company SimilarWeb. Cuevana gained notoriety as an online piracy brand, spawning numerous copycat operations. Its network of more than 20 domains attracted more than 800 million visits in two years and made a vast library of infringing film and TV content available in multiple formats.

Commenting on the shutdown, Jan van Voorn, executive VP and chief executive of global content protection for the Motion Picture Association and head of ACE, said: “The largest Spanish-language piracy streamer in Latin America is no more, thanks to a tireless, global effort involving law enforcement and judicial authorities in several LATAM countries and ACE’s global teams in LATAM and other parts of the world.

“In the past year and a half, we’ve also taken down several other high profile illegal services in LATAM, which sends a clear message to piracy operators in the region and worldwide that we are closing in”.

All Cuevana3 domains are being transferred to ACE and will be redirected to the “Watch Legally” page of the ACE website.



Digital Citizens Alliance report found that 72% of those who used a credit card to sign up for a pirated TV, movie or gaming streaming service reported fraud

Internet users that use a credit card to sign up for illegal piracy streaming services to gain access to movies, TV shows, and games face a serious risk of having their card used to run up charges they didn’t authorize, according to a new Digital Citizens Alliance investigation.

“Our latest report is further proof that piracy operators will go to any length to turn a profit off of consumers with an appetite for content, even those who are willing to pay for it,” said Tom Galvin, executive director of the Digital Citizens Alliance. “Combined with our previous research highlighting the risks associated with free piracy apps and services, the situation becomes even clearer. The pursuit of pirated content is an inherently risky behavior that threatens consumers’ devices, wallets, and privacy.”

The report titled, “Giving Piracy Operators Credit,” includes an investigation into how a Digital Citizens investigator’s credit card was targeted for $1,495 in illicit purchases and a separate survey that highlights a number of larger issues relating to pirated content.

The survey found widespread use of pirated content with one in three Americans admitting to watching pirated content.

The survey also found that 72% of Americans who said they used a credit card to purchase a piracy subscription service reported having an issue with credit card fraud over the last year.

To test whether credit card fraud was tied to piracy subscription services, Digital Citizens signed up for 20 piracy subscription services. Investigators signed for the services from February through April of 2023 using a new Capital One QuickSilver credit card that was used solely for this project.

The sites charged a set monthly subscription fee ranging from $5.99 to $40 and within two weeks, the fraudulent charges began, the group said.

The purchases were purportedly for grocery delivery, women’s apparel, computer software, a cash advance, and a large mystery charge of $850 that, fortunately, wasn’t processed. The charges appear to originate from China, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Lithuania.

Specific charges include:

  • February 22, 2023 – Eleven days after signing up for the first piracy streaming services – two charges of $17.21 each occurred listed as “GB Pay affectioni.” Affectioni appears to be a women’s apparel store in Qingdao City, China. GP Pay is a mobile payment service.
  • February 23, 2023 – Just a day later, a cash advance of $14.99 (along with an additional $3 fee) was made using the Wollito crypto platform. The credit card statement states that the purchase originated in Vilnius, Lithuania. No other information is available.
  • March 22, 2023 – A $16.60 purchase at a clothing store based in Hong Kong. The name on the charge was “clothingyoyo,” which corresponds to the Clothing Yoyo outlet based in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong.
  • March 31, 2023 – A $16.68 purchase for “thedailygroceries.” The charge originated in Jiaxing Shi in China. Although the name indicates its food-related, the website,, which appears to correspond to the charge, sells jewelry such as necklaces and bracelets along with handbags.
  • April 30, 2023 – Two attempts for larger purchases of $899 and $150 occur. The nature of the purchases is not known because Capital One alerted the cardholder for approval, which was not given.
  • May 1, 2023 – The first of two larger purchases occur at a Singapore-based apparel store called Pazzion for $118.53.
  • May 9, 2023 – A second purchase at Pazzion is processed for $244.78. According to its website, Pazzion sells apparel such as shoes, handbags, bracelets, and other accessories.

In addition to the investigation of the 20 piracy subscription services, Digital Citizens commissioned a research survey to better understand the risks of piracy websites and apps. The survey asked 2,330 Americans how they get their entertainment.

Key findings include:

  • Over the past year, roughly 1 in 3 Americans reported watching pirated content at least once. Some relied on pirated content after canceling other legitimate streaming options or cable or satellite services.
  • About 1 in 10 who reported watching pirated content said they had purchased a subscription using a credit card to do so.
  • Seventy-two percent of Americans who said they used a credit card to purchase a piracy subscription service also reported having an issue with credit card fraud over the last year. Only 18 percent of those who said they don’t visit pirate sites reported a similar issue.
  • Americans who visited piracy sites and apps were four times (44 percent to 10 percent) more likely to report being a victim of identity theft.
  • Americans who visited piracy sites and apps were five times (46 percent to 9 percent) more likely to report having an issue with malware in the last year.

The report also delved into a number of possible solutions to the problems and argued that the proliferation of piracy services into Americans’ homes – and the damage they do – requires concerted action by federal and state governments, the credit card companies that piracy operators rely on, and consumers themselves.

Efforts to combat piracy should include:

  • Payment processors terminating relationships with known piracy operators.
  • The FTC warns Americans about online risks that can expose them to financial fraud and malware.
  • Law enforcement using the tools they were given in 2020 to launch criminal investigations against piracy operators.
  • Consumer protection groups continuing to warn Americans about the risks.

More information is available at The full report is available here.