PRESS RELEASE: AAPA joint action sees convictions

25 November 2013

The operator of the card sharing network hosted approximately 400 users and advertised his card sharing services through eBay in conjunction with the sale of specifically adapted decoders.  An accomplice also sold subscriptions to the operator’s network in exchange for a percentage of the subscription fee.

On 14 November 2013, the criminal court of Dinant sentenced the network operator to 150 hours of community service (or a 6 months jail sentence) and ordered the forfeiture of his assets used for the infringement as well as the confiscation of EUR 111,139.25.

The accomplice was convicted by default to a deferred sentence of 4 months imprisonment, confiscation of assets used and an amount equivalent to EUR 2,135.

Commenting on the judgment Christine Maury-Panis, VP of AAPA and EVP and General Counsel of Viaccess-Orca said that “this conviction not only shows once more that the Belgian courts will impose criminal sanctions on those involved in audiovisual piracy it also demonstrates the benefits of AAPA members combining their expertise, resources and commitment to pursues effective enforcement action against pirates. The fact that the networks used were established not only in the EU but in Russia also re-affirms our commitment to work with our international partners to fight piracy on a global basis. Extending collaboration beyond AAPA members could also help to speed up the judicial process.”

In 2009, a number of members of the Audiovisual Anti-Piracy Alliance (then AEPOC), including platform operators, content providers and conditional access technology companies, combined to file a complaint with the criminal court of Dinant claiming damages from the persons responsible.

Early in 2010, the judicial police of Dinant raided the private house of the card sharing operator and seized the computers, cards, hard disks and a mobile phone used for the card sharing practices. It was established that since the start of the network in 2007, the operator had earned over EUR 100,000 from the illegal activities.

The investigative judge found links between card sharing networks in Belgium, France and Russia. The investigation also showed that the card sharing operator had filed false declarations of theft with pay-TV providers after the cards used for the card sharing network had been seized by the Belgian police.

The judgment is still subject to appeal.

Note to editors:

The case was filed in 2009 by members of AAPA’s predecessor association, AEPOC. The members involved are BSkyB, Irdeto, Liberty Global, NAGRA, NDS, Sky Deutschland, and Viaccess-Orca.