More pay-TV piracy arrests in Greece

Continued efforts by the police electronic crime prosecution departments in Greece and Cyprus have resulted in twelve more cases involving piracy of pay-TV satellite services. These were heard before the Public Prosecutor and criminal prosecutions have been initiated against the defendants.

Since 2010, when the first judgments were pronounced for the piracy of pay-TV signal in Greece, there have been 17 sentences in total. Sentences range from imprisonment of 6 months to 9 years and with corresponding monetary penalties of up to €32,000.

The more recent sentence on June 7th this year constitutes a significant case, involving one of the largest criminal networks in Greece and with much heavier penalties being imposed. The defendant, who was distributing keys to decode pay-TV services, was sentenced to 6 years’ imprisonment, a fine of €20,000, deprivation of civil rights for 3 years, confiscation and destruction of the seized material and forfeiture of a guarantee of €5,000. The court also judged that the lodge of an appeal will not be permitted in this case.

The ever growing number of arrests by the police electronic crime prosecution departments of Greece and Cyprus for technical piracy and illegal trading of the pay-TV signals demonstrates the seriousness with which the authorities now deal with the problem of the piracy of pay-TV signal. It signifies also important developments in the legislative approach. Specifically, piracy of the pay-TV signal now constitutes a felonious act, resulting in criminal prosecutions.

Consumers who purchase pay-TV from suppliers who have obtained the pay-TV signal illegally risk  losing significant sums of money, either because the pirates may be detected and criminally prosecuted, resulting in the interruption of their illegitimate service, or because, as in many cases, their “suppliers” may just disappear. There is no guarantee or security that those who chose to obtain pay-TV services in this way.

The Executive Director of AAPA, Sheila Cassells, stated: “AAPA, congratulates the police electronic crime prosecution authorities in Greece and Cyprus for their continued successes with regard to the fight against piracy. The Greek courts are sending a very clear signal that piracy will not be tolerated, and, importantly, is a criminal offence likely to incur serious penalties. Consumers who resort to illegal sources for pay-TV services should also understand the implications. AAPA and its members will continue to support the police authorities in their efforts to fight piracy.”

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