The digital seas are becoming a perilous place for pirates. Today, the Australian IPTV provider Fetch TV announced it is joining forces with the Australian Screen Association (ASA) to combat online piracy. If you're partial to a bit of GoT plunder via illegal streaming and the like, here's what you need to know.
The ASA is a consortium of film and television organisations that counts Village Roadshow, Walt Disney, Sony Pictures, Universal, Paramount and 20th Century Fox among its members. Its stated mission is to advance the business of filmmaking, with an emphasis on promoting safe and legal consumption of TV and movie content.
The news that Fetch TV will be joining ASA as an associate member coincides with a renewed focus on so-called "pirate set top boxes". (This includes things like Kodi media players running dodgy torrent addons.) In a statement issued to media, ASA said it aims to block the proliferation of these "illicit devices" via the Federal Court. It has already filed a court action.
Needless to say, Fetch TV - which is onsold by Optus, Dodo, iiNet and others - is keen to see these blocks pass.
"Fetch TV is a strong supporter of the ASA initiatives designed to address the piracy epidemic in Australia, and welcomes the opportunity to contribute as an Associate Member," Fetch TV CEO Scott Lorson said.
"We look forward to working with the ASA and its members on targeted and effective strategies to improve the prospects of all legitimate players in the creative industries."
Targeted and effective strategies doesn't sound like much fun for pirates. It should be noted that the ASA's push against piracy has already met with considerable legal success. Some of its members were behind the blocking of The Pirate Bay and other torrent websites in Australia.
More recently, ASA associate member Village Roadshow revealed to Lifehacker that it intends to start suing individual pirates for copyright infringement.
This week, Village Roadshow co-CEO Graham Burke announced the company will start suing Australians who infringe on its copyright. This means anyone who has streamed or downloaded a movie via an illegal pirate site is potentially in its cross hairs.
But when will litigation begin? Who will be targeted? And how much money will you need to pay? We spoke directly to Burke to get some answers.
"If someone steals Red Dog and Mad Max Fury Road, we will sue them for the two viewings of those movies, plus some damages," Village Roadshow CEO Graham Burke said at the time.
While Lifehacker has never condoned piracy, it's now becoming an increasingly risky proposition. With Fetch TV and others mobilising against the practice, it might be time to furl your black sails and go legit. Or at the very least, cover your tracks with a VPN - if you haven't already.