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A Belgian court has convicted two men charged with running an illegal l piracy operation aimed at Pay TV. The men, from Belgium and the Netherlands, have been sentenced by the Court of Tongeren to 12 months imprisonment, of which 6 months are suspended. The pirates were also ordered to pay a fine of €5,500 and an indemnification of more than €26,000 to M7 Group, the legal broadcaster of the pay TV content.
Inspectors discovered a control word sharing server and equipment which was used to host content from pay TV brands TV Vlaanderen, TéléSAT and CanalDigitaal on the Internet, allowing multiple clients to access pay TV content with only one valid subscription card.
Satellite Services Provider M7 Group, who operates the content brands, is satisfied with the verdict. “The imprisonment of these two men sends out a message that people who involve themselves in this kind of crime can be tracked down and will be brought to justice”, said Tom Heremans, Attorney of the M7 Group. “M7 will continue to fight piracy with both legal and technical means to prevent the unauthorised use of our copyrights.”
Control word sharing piracy poses a major threat to pay TV operators and broadcasters and occurs when a pirate steals and retransmits a regularly changing control word that is passed between a smart card and a set-top-box (STB), allowing subscribers to watch TV content they have not paid for.