Lega Serie A and Google have reached an agreement: Big G will remove illegal IPTV apps from the Play Store, but the remedy may not be sufficient against piracy.
The budgets of Serie A teams are based on the proceeds of TV rights. One or more platforms that buy the rights from the Lega Serie A to broadcast the league's matches with a disbursement commensurate with the audience of subscribers. The upcoming 2021-22 championship, for example, will be entirely streamed by DAZN. It is therefore easy to understand how there is a rather direct connection between the "paying" audience and, for example, the money spent by football clubs for the purchase campaign or players' salaries.
And it is just as easy to understand how important it is to sensitize football fans on how much the so-called "pezzotto" actually touches their favorite team or the show offered by the Serie A championship. The pezzotto, for those who have never heard this term, is nothing but piracy, the illegal streaming of paid content including matches offered at a third, a quarter and even less than the cost provided by the official channels. This practice not only ends up damaging the legal economy including the soccer system, but also enriches the underground economy with unthinkable implications since the capital is often reused in less noble activities.
The League allies with Google against pezzotto
Digital piracy or "pezzotto" is constantly fought by the Lega Serie A, naturally committed to the protection of the interests of soccer teams and the Serie A championship.
Recently, in its fight against piracy, the League has found a valuable ally in Google: an agreement has been reached for the removal of apps that have illegally reproduced and reproduce content owned by the Lega Serie A from the Play Store, the store of standard applications on Android, the most popular operating system on smartphones and tablets.
It is certainly an important step in the fight against piracy, but it may not be decisive. One of the characteristics that substantially differentiates Android from iOS - the operating system for Apple smartphones and tablets as well as iPhones and iPads - is its openness to any application, even those that are not present on the official store managed by Google, the Play Store.
So the agreement puts a first, important check on piracy, but neither Google nor the Lega Serie A can control what users download from alternative app stores to the Play Store, which are numerous and allow the download of any type of application, including those that illegally transmit copyrighted content. Numerous, then, are the apps for illegal streaming conveyed through Telegram groups that, not for nothing, are often at the center of the investigations of the Postal Police and Guardia di Finanza.
In the meantime, Lega Serie A celebrates what is undoubtedly an important step to stem the pezzotto. The agreement with Google aims at protecting the interests of Italian soccer in the short term, with the immediate removal of some apps, and in the long term, thanks to the use of innovative tools used to monitor future copyright violations.
At the same time, the Lega Serie A continues to warn the services that materially allow the diffusion of illegal transmissions by providing cloud space to the violators. After having obtained the disabling of hosting on Worldstream and OVH, online piracy has moved to Cloudflare, against which legal actions have been started.