Pirated sports streaming site part of organized crime: official

By Khuong Nha   October 16, 2023 | 03:00 am PT
Pirated sports streaming site part of organized crime: official
Nguyen Thanh Lam, Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, speaks at a conference on copyrights infringement in HCMC in October 2023. Photo by VnExpress/NT
Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Thanh Lam said that pirated sports streaming site Xoi Lac is more than just copyright infringement.

"Gambling, online fraud, usury and copyright violation. The Xoi Lac website is not simply curious people who broadcast pirated livestreams for fun. They are associated with organized crime," Lam said at a conference in HCMC over the weekend.

He said that in the coming time, the ministry would establish a specialized team on copyright issues with the participation of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Ministry of Public Security.

To Nam Phuong, a repsentative of streaming service FPT Play, said: "Sports tournaments get livestreamed illegally in many ways, from recording by phone to more sophisticated methods. A Champions League game on copyrighted sites only has a few hundred thousand viewers but on illegal sites, there can be millions. If we could move 10% of the viewers from violated sites like Xoi Lac to over-the-top media services (OTT), the revenue from there could be reinvested into sports development."

Lawyer Pham Thanh Thuy, a representative of sports channel K+, said that copyright infringement occurred on livestream platforms, Facebook and even imported cable TV.

"Websites like Xoi Lac and Motchill (pirated movie site) are no strangers to people, as they are currently the two biggest pirated streaming sites in the country," Thuy said and cited a report by SimilarWeb, which shows that Vietnam has over 200 pirated sites, garnering around 120 million views a month. This is a number that FPT Play or K+ cannot compete with," he said.

He added that these sites even attacked government websites. Xoi Lac also inserts hidden illegal links into sites with the .gov domain.

Experts said the revenue of these pirated sites comes from gambling advertising and malware, which are illegal. However, blocking these sites is no longer an effective solution in the copyright battle.

"To block a website, you have to get permission from the court which will take at least two days, while these criminals only need two minutes to change the name of their sites," Thuy said.

Therefore, domestic companies recommend not only blocking domain names but also the IP ranges of these sites. This is also a method used by many countries to combat copyright problems worldwide.

Lam said that besides fighting copyright infringement, raising public awareness is also really important. When broadcasting live, stations and providers can incorporate slogans and messages on the screen, calling on users to boycott pirated websites.

Xoi Lac, a site specializing in the illegal streaming of international sports tournaments since 2016, was developed by an anonymous group. In the videos, the channel's commentators say that they live abroad. Its domain name is registered through GoDaddy with an IP address located in the U.S.

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