If some pirate sites attempt to establish themselves on the open sea or an island (The Pirate Bay had expressed interest in purchasing its own island in 2022 to evade copyright laws), others have found a more cost-effective solution by locating their servers in countries with less strict regulations. One of these territories, in particular, is especially appealing to them, as the authorities are quite lenient.
Bmovies, Bflix, Fmovies, 9anime… These sites offer illegal streaming of thousands of films and series. What do they have in common? They are all hosted in Vietnam and it appears that most of them are owned by BestBuyIPTV, one of the largest pirate IPTV services.
If a country has been on the list of countries monitored by the United States for a few years, the latter ultimately cannot do much to stop the phenomenon. Even worse, these extremely popular sites generate several billion views of films and series that are illegally made available to internet users.
VIETNAM HOSTS THE BIGGEST PIRATE SITES IN THE WORLD
In 2018, the relations between the United States and Vietnam were strengthened. During that time, the American ambassador intervened with the local authorities to address some issues. As a result, some of the biggest pirate sites, such as 123movies or Putlocker, were shut down overnight.
SimilarWeb, a platform that monitors internet traffic, reported that fmovies.to, a site based in Vietnam, received 92 million visits in March 2023. This is an increase from 85 million visits in January and 77 million visits in February. Vietnam is home to dozens of pirate sites, which are managed and hosted within the country.
Pirate sites such as these are able to operate with impunity because there are no criminal investigations or prosecutions being pursued against them. Under current criminal law in Vietnam, only “substantial fines and years of imprisonment” can be imposed on those who engage in fraudulent activities. Despite attempts by rights holders to shut down these sites, the authorities have failed to take action in almost all cases.
Despite the United States Trade Representative (USTR) strengthening the Intellectual Property Code in January 2023, Vietnam has not been placed on the priority watch list. However, sites such as fmovies or bmovies were included in the list of pirate sites published by the USA in February. Vietnam continues to ignore this issue, and these offending websites, which often offer a paid Premium plan, continue to generate significant profits.