Italy’s Guardia di Finanza (Financial Police) has busted a pay-TV piracy ring in Naples, seizing €76,000 in transmission equipment, including smart cards, decoders and PCs.
The pirates, equipped with decoders and cards from pay-TV operators Sky Italia and Mediaset Premium, decoded premium content such as movies and live football and retransmitted it in real-time online.
Viewers subscribing to the service were charged a flat annual rate of €70, corresponding to just over 10 per cent of the full and legal subscription to the pay-TV offer.
According to the Guardia di Finanza, the transmission centre was handled by an Italian living in Switzerland but based in the Naples suburb of Scampia. The venture provided an annual subscription to live channels, as well as a package of on demand content, similar to that offered by the pay-TV broadcasters.
Among the material seized, the police found dozens of photocopies of ID cards of people totally unaware of the operation.
The four people arrested risk imprisonment of up to four years and a fine of €15,000.