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A South African company director has been convicted in the country’s first successful criminal case against a distributor of IPTV set-top boxes that facilitate piracy of movies‚ series‚ and sport.
Jacque Hilbert‚ a director of AVSupply‚ was sentenced to a fine of R20‚000 (€1,220) in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Court.
He was one of four people arrested during a series of raids in joint operations between the Police and The South African Federation Against Copyright Theft (SAFACT).
A guilty plea was entered on Sec 86(4) of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act that criminalise the utilisation of a device or computer program in order to overcome security measures designed to protect data or access thereto. The sentence was suspended for five years on condition that he is not convicted of contravening the provisions of section 86 of the Act again.
“All the devices that were seized were forfeited to the state and will be destroyed. The value of the confiscated items is estimated at approximately R 80‚000‚” SAFACT said.
It welcomed the sentence and commended the National Prosecution Authority‚ comms regulator ICASA and the South African Police Services for the success‚ which it described as a huge breakthrough in the ongoing fight against piracy in South Africa.
SAFACT’s Managing Director‚ Jacques Allers‚ confirmed that the fight would go on against any person or business that was involved in the distribution of devices that facilitated piracy, and that several more cases were being investigated, with others in the pipeline.
“We can only hope that this conviction will serve its purpose to deter others from this or similar crimes relating to the creative and entertainment industries,” he declared.