UPC Direct card sharing pirates guilty

freeSAT by UPC DirectTwo new cases of the piracy practice known as card sharing have been brought to resolution in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The cases involved the theft of services from UPC DTH), enabling the illegal reception of services and depriving UPC of payment.

Following criminal complaints filed by UPC DTH, whose parent company Liberty Global is a member of AAPA (Audiovisual Anti-Piracy Alliance), the matter was addressed in co-operation with Irdeto, the conditional access system provider to freeSAT service, and local police authorities in Czech Republic and Slovakia. The action led to successful prosecutions.

The defendants in both cases pleaded guilty and have accepted the settlements requiring them to pay UPC DTH several thousand Euros compensation.

In the Czech Republic case, the court conditionally closed the criminal proceedings as the defendant pleaded guilty, settled to cover the claimed damage and had no previous criminal history. The court also set up a probationary period of two years.

In the Slovak case, the police successfully closed the investigation and the state attorney closed the case due to the fact that defendant pleaded guilty, settled to cover the claimed damage and had no previous criminal history.

In welcoming the decision the AAPA’s executive director, Sheila Cassells, said that “these are cases which show that this type of theft is taken seriously and that local officials fully support the need to maintain the legitimate protection of the services our members provide to paying customers in these countries. AAPA will continue to support its members in taking necessary action.”

Magnus Ternsjö, managing director of UPC DTH added, “we have made many technological improvements to limit the ability of thieves to steal our services but we cannot be fully successful without the support of local law enforcement to apprehend and prosecute those who try to circumvent our security to illegally provide services to others.

“We have further pending cases and count on additional success in gaining significant restitution and sentencing that includes putting people behind bars. We are and will always go after people we can prove are involved with illegal activities and violate our terms and conditions. These activities not only include “card sharing” piracy, but also frauds committed by individuals and groups which harm UPC DTH and our paying customers.

“We appreciate very much the support of the law enforcement officials in the countries, Irdeto, as well as AAPA and praise them for helping us to successfully convict people who have been involved with piracy and other related criminal activities.”

Rory O’Connor, VP of services at Irdeto, commented, “The collaboration between UPC DTH, AAPA , the Irdeto Anti-Piracy and Forensics Unit and local authorities sends a strong message to criminals that media piracy will not go unpunished. The verdicts of these cases will act as a strong deterrent to others who undertake in such illegal activity and is an extremely pleasing outcome that follows recent successful prosecutions in Greece, Belgium and Netherlands.

“Irdeto will continue to work closely with our customers and local authorities to understand where piracy is occurring – and actively taking measures to counter and stop it.”

The defendants were distributing to third parties the decoding keys of pay TV programmes from freeSAT via the internet. Users were then able to view programmes without subscription, using the illegitimately adapted set top boxes or private boxes suitable for piracy activities.