In this year’s Trend Report 2017, Nordic Content Protection (NCP), has chosen to focus on the economy associated with the illegal distribution of television broadcasts. Estimates outlined in the report indicate, that illegal parallel distribution networks in the Nordic region represent an earning potential of approximately 531.6 million Euros to the legal distributors. This figure is based on 400,000 illegal subscriptions. The biggest loss is inflicted upon Sweden, followed by Denmark, Norway, and Finland.
The large criminal networks operate in the same way as legitimate international companies. Illegal distribution is highly lucrative, and carries a low risk of detection, and prosecution. The annual turnover for illegal distributors in the Nordic countries is an estimated 77,9 million Euros. There are indeed indications, that a portion of these illegal proceeds, are being used to finance other criminal activities – ultimately terrorism.
A recent EU survey (EUIPO, shows that 25% of youths aged between 15-24, deliberately download illegal content off the Internet. Nordic figures (not counting Norway), are higher – which indicates that a relatively large proportion of the youth population, does not consider it to be a serious offence to unlawfully acquire content from copyright owners of movies, games, television broadcasts etc. This attitude makes it extremely likely, that many of today’s youths will have little or no misgivings about choosing illegal television solutions in the foreseeable future.
Card Sharing (CS), is still the leading platform for illegal distribution of television broadcasts. There are indications that CS has stopped growing, but it has stabilized at a high level. The number of illegal providers of Internet Protocol Television (IPTV), is however on the rise. In 2016, Nordic Content Protection (NCP) has uncovered 153 web pages, which illegally offer Nordic channel packages via IPTV, and streaming.
Another platform that is expanding in line with user patterns, bandwidth, availability, and quality, is streaming via web pages. Identifying the licensees, and persuading the distributors of illegal streams to comply with our requests, currently poses considerable challenges.
Police IPR-units (Intellectual Property Rights) in Sweden and Denmark; have in recent years made substantial contributions in a number of court cases with positive results. Norway and Finland have yet to establish such task forces, and as a result, most of the investigative work is left to the industry itself. Consequently, this form of crime has flourished due to the low risk of prosecution.