AAPA claims Belgian anti-piracy success

A successful joint action by members of the Audiovisual Anti-Piracy Alliance (AAPA) has resulted in criminal court convictions in Belgium.

On November 14th 2013, the criminal court of Dinant, Belgium, convicted the operator of a card sharing network hosting 400 users and his accomplice and awarded damages to injured parties. The operator of the card sharing network hosted approximately 400 users and advertised his card sharing services through eBay in conjunction with the sale of specifically adapted decoders. An accomplice also sold subscriptions to the operator’s network in exchange for a percentage of the subscription fee.

The Dinant court sentenced the network operator to 150 hours of community service (or a six months jail sentence) and ordered the forfeiture of his assets used for the infringement as well as the confiscation of €111,139.25.

The accomplice was convicted by default to a deferred sentence of four months imprisonment, confiscation of assets used and an amount equivalent to €2,135.

According to Christine Maury-Panis, VP of AAPA and EVP and General Counsel of Viaccess-Orca , the conviction not only shows once more that the Belgian courts will impose criminal sanctions on those involved in audiovisual piracy, but also demonstrates the benefits of AAPA members combining their expertise, resources and commitment to pursues effective enforcement action against pirates. “The fact that the networks used were established not only in the EU, but in Russia also re-affirms our commitment to work with our international partners to fight piracy on a global basis. Extending collaboration beyond AAPA members could also help to speed up the judicial process,” she suggested.

In 2009, a number of members of the Audiovisual Anti-Piracy Alliance (then AEPOC), including platform operators, content providers and conditional access technology companies, combined to file a complaint with the criminal court of Dinant claiming damages from the persons responsible. The members involved are BSkyB, Irdeto, Liberty Global, NAGRA, NDS, Sky Deutschland, and Viaccess-Orca.

Early in 2010, the judicial police of Dinant raided the private house of the card sharing operator and seized the computers, cards, hard disks and a mobile phone used for the card sharing practices. It was established that since the start of the network in 2007, the operator had earned over €100,000 from the illegal activities.

The investigative judge found links between card sharing networks in Belgium, France and Russia. The investigation also showed that the card sharing operator had filed false declarations of theft with pay-TV providers after the cards used for the card sharing network had been seized by the Belgian police.

The judgement is still subject to appeal.

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