Earlier today, TorrentFreak broke the news that Vader Streams has shut its doors. While their reason for closing was not made entirely clear, the service’s message to customers appears to signal legal troubles.
In case you haven’t heard of Vader Streams, it was a pirate IPTV operation which sold access to their service for a monthly fee. We have always been against this type of company, which seeks to profit from stolen content.
Vader’s decision to be cryptic in announcement of their shut down leads us to believe that they are currently defending themselves in legal proceedings.
In the case of piracy lawsuits that involve ongoing investigations, gag orders are often issued which prevent leaking of specific information. These are issued to prevent “tipping off” others who may be subject to similar legal proceedings.
Onto the million dollar question… Are Vader’s customers now at risk? The short answer is: yes.
Since paid pirate IPTV services offer no legitimate or dual-use features, it would be reasonable for a court to determine that anyone subscribing to them would have infringed upon the intellectual property rights of broadcasters.
People get sued for downloading torrents all the time, because it is easy for studios to prove user involvement by identifying IP addresses of P2P participants.
In Vader’s case, not only do they have user IP addresses, but also other identifying information like email addresses and transaction data.
Broadcasters love to make examples out of regular people, in order to deter would-be paid IPTV pirates in the future. It could be in the form of lawsuits, or threatening cease-and-desist letters – but now we’re just speculating.
One last thing that should be noted… While downloading torrents or running a streaming site involve civil lawsuits and liability, selling access to pirated streams is a whole other ball game.
Often, these kind of sellers are subject to criminal proceedings and possible jail time. Avoiding jail gives them extra incentive to spill the beans on their customers, resellers and service providers.
We seriously discourage the use of paid pirate IPTV services, it’s not sharing – it’s outright theft. However, if you’re going to subscribe to one – be sure to use a throwaway email account, cryptocurrency payment options, and a VPN at all times.