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Italian card-sharers risk jail

October 11, 2017

From Branislav Pekic in Rome

Italy’s Corte di Cassazione (Supreme Court) has sentenced a 52-year old Palermo man to four months imprisonment for using codes purchased from third parties to access the Sky Italia pay-TV platform.

Unsuccessfully, the defendant defended himself by claiming that he purchased the software for decoding codes on the web to justify the fact that “the smart card was never found at the time of his search”.

His appeal was deemed “inadmissible” and the 2016 conviction became final.  He was also sentenced to paying €2,000 in fines.

In its ruling, the Court explained that card-sharing was decriminalised in 2000, but then became a crime again in 2003, following a legislative decree. What is significant in the ruling is that no longer is it just the person responsible for the distribution of access codes for profit affected by the law, but also everyone who watches encrypted TV channels without paying the fee, no matter the method used to circumvent signal protection, i.e., card sharing, codes purchased online or even exchanged with relatives.

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