Italian police bust pay-TV piracy ring
March 15, 2016
By Branislav Pekic in Rome
Italy’s Financial Police has exposed a fraud of pay-TV operators Sky Italia and Mediaset Premium, leading to charges being raised against 240 people.
The investigation targeted an inhabitant of the city of La Spezia in possession of a sophisticated software system and connected hardware equipment, capable of illegally receiving and retransmitting the encrypted signal of the pay-TV operators directly to the homes of “customers”.
For a monthly payment of €20, the “customers” were able to benefit from a “Full” subscription to both conditional access platforms, either using a card-sharing mechanism or via an IPTV signal.
The inquiry, which had the help of Mediaset and Sky Italia, identified a large network of customers in Italy managed by the “owner” and “reseller”. The source of the encrypted signals was hosted on some servers located in France.
The evidence gathered by the Italian Financial Police found that the perpetrator had been operating for at least eight months, during which he accumulated about €50,000 in profits and caused economic damages to Sky Italia and Mediaset estimated at almost €500,000.
The 240 people identified as users have been reported to court for violation of copyright. In theory they could face up to 3 years imprisonment and a €25,000 fine.