Prosecutors discover way to stop cable theft

Artist : Mr. Chau-yih Yu

For the very first time, Taiwan prosecutors have discovered an efficient way to stop copyright infringements as a result of cable theft. Further to raids conducted in the server room and suspects’ premises, in a follow-up action in December 2021, the prosecutors successfully terminated the access to more than 50 domain names involving supply of copyright-infringing material subject to a court order by executing DNS Response Policy Zone (DNS RPZ) via the assistance of the Taiwan Network Information Center (TWNIC).

DNS RPZ is a mechanism that introduces a customised policy in Domain Name System servers, which could return possibly modified results by using recursive resolvers. By modifying a result, access to the corresponding host can be blocked. In short, it is a firewall-like security measure, which has often been used against DNS poisoning. It is now a proven and cost-effective way to fight cable theft, which has widely taken place in most popular illegal over-the-top (OTT) TV boxes.

Despite numerous administrative measures taken by the National Communications Commission (NCC) to stop the purchase and use of illegal OTT TV boxes (for further details please see “NCC issues alerts on purchase and use of OTT TV boxes“), illegal OTT TV boxes enjoy a much higher penetration rate in the market. This is estimated to be 30% higher than APPLE TV, whose penetration rate is less than 20%.

The temporary success of executing access termination, however, did not bring copyright owners and cable channel operators enough satisfaction. They appealed and requested an immediate legislative move on creating the OTT TV regulation (for further details please see “NCC suspends OTT TV regulation proposal“). The NCC has responded that a final draft regulation on OTT TV services will be available by the end of June 2022 for public consultation.

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