PRESS RELEASE - New arrests and sentences for piracy of pay TV signal in Greece and Cyprus

17 June 2013

Continued efforts by the police electronic crime prosecution departments in Greece and Cyprus have resulted in twelve more cases involving piracy of pay TV satellite services. These were heard before the Public Prosecutor and criminal prosecutions have been initiated against the defendants.

Since 2010, when the first judgments were pronounced for the piracy of pay TV signal in Greece, there have been 17 sentences in total. Sentences range from imprisonment of 6 months to 9 years and with corresponding monetary penalties of up to 32,000.

The more recent sentence on 7 June this year constitutes a significant case, involving one of the largest criminal networks in Greece and with much heavier penalties being imposed. The defendant, who was distributing keys to decode pay TV services, was sentenced to 6 years’ imprisonment, a fine of €20,000, deprivation of civil rights for 3 years, confiscation and destruction of the seized material and forfeiture of a guarantee of €5,000. The court also judged that the lodge of an appeal will not be permitted in this case.

The ever growing number of arrests by the police electronic crime prosecution departments of Greece and Cyprus for technical piracy and illegal trading of the pay TV signals demonstrates the seriousness with which the authorities now deal with the problem of the piracy of pay TV signal. It signifies also important developments in the legislative approach. Specifically, piracy of the pay TV signal now constitutes a felonious act, resulting in criminal prosecutions.

Consumers who purchase pay TV from suppliers who have obtained the pay TV signal  illegally risk  losing significant sums of money, either because the pirates may be detected and criminally prosecuted, resulting in the interruption of their illegitimate service, or because, as in many cases, their “suppliers” may just disappear. There is no guarantee or security that those who chose to obtain pay TV services in this way.

The Executive Director of AAPA, Sheila Cassells, stated: “AAPA, congratulates the police electronic crime prosecution authorities in Greece and Cyprus for their continued successes with regard to the fight against piracy. The Greek courts are sending a very clear signal that piracy will not be tolerated, and, importantly, is a criminal offence likely to incur serious penalties. Consumers who resort to illegal sources for pay TV services should also understand the implications. AAPA and its members will continue to support the police authorities in their efforts to fight piracy.”

About AAPA: AAPA represents companies involved in the provision of protected audiovisual services, security technology for such services, and the manufacturing of products which facilitate the delivery of such services. AAPA’s mission is to enable the fight against piracy where this involves the development, promotion, distribution, application or use of technologies resulting in the unauthorised use of protected audiovisual content, by co-ordinating intelligence and action supported by effective legislation and its implementation.