Following the successful 2013 raid of five homes in The Netherlands cities of Apeldoorn, Enschede, Vlagtwedde and The Hague, content pirates arrested during these raids have been sentenced at the Zutphen courthouse. Two defendants received 100 hours of community service, two months of conditional imprisonment and two years’ probation. This followed an extensive collaborative effort between The Dutch Police, The Public Prosecution Service, Dutch TV providers and content protection specialist Irdeto to track, investigate and raid a group of individuals offering pirate TV card-sharing subscriptions on auction websites in the Netherlands.
“Pay-TV piracy will not be tolerated in The Netherlands, and it is our intent to ensure that these sentences dissuade others from illegal content distribution,” said Ger Laning of the Dutch Police. “Piracy poses a severe threat to pay media businesses. By working with technology and anti-piracy experts like Irdeto, we are able to disrupt pirate activity and bring criminals to justice. The Dutch Police will continue to protect the revenues of Dutch pay-TV operators by combating this type of cybercrime.”
The case began in 2011 when Irdeto and local Dutch TV providers began investigations into several suspects offering control word sharing equipment and illegal pirate subscriptions for sale. Following this initial investigation, Irdeto and the local TV providers jointly referred several cases to the Dutch Police with supporting evidence in 2012. Ongoing investigations revealed that the control word sharing networks in question were also providing unauthorised pirated access to international pay-TV channels. Following the successful raids, the evidence was analysed by The Public Prosecution Service and the defendants were brought to trial.
“Piracy has a negative impact on the pay-TV industry, and AAPA members such as Irdeto provide an important service in tracking and investigating those involved in this illegal activity,” said Sheila Cassells, Executive Director of the Audiovisual Anti-Piracy Alliance (AAPA). “Results such as this show those involved in the theft of content that it will be taken seriously by the authorities. AAPA continues to work hard to address the problems posed by piracy and mitigate the effect that the issue has on the industry.”
Control word sharing piracy is one of many major threats posed to pay-TV operators and broadcasters, which has dramatically increased with growing broadband penetration. Control word sharing occurs when a pirate steals and retransmits a regularly changing control word that is passed between a smart card and a STB, allowing subscribers to watch TV content they have not legitimately paid for. In this case, Irdeto was able to prepare detailed evidence regarding the control word sharing networks in question.
“While this only represents the beginning of much larger cases, Irdeto welcomes this latest successful prosecution and will continue working against the criminal operations that target our customers’ valuable content,” said Mark Mulready, Senior Director, Cyber Services & Investigations, Irdeto. “To reduce revenue loss, businesses must understand the threat that they are facing and rigorously counteract pirate activity. Irdeto, as a trusted security partner and subject matter expert, will continue to work closely with pay-TV operators to gather information on criminal activity and also with law enforcement – such as the Dutch Police – to secure convictions.”