MUMBAI: AEPOC, the European Association for the Protection of Encrypted Works and Services, confirms another police investigation in Cyprus seizing six more card sharing servers and stopping six new suspects offering illegal subscriptions for BFBS, BSkyB and Nova.
Earlier in June a first police operation, supported and initiated by AEPOC members including Irdeto, saw a Cypriot man arrested for providing illicit Pay-TV subscriptions to some 1400 clients in Europe. The police believe the six new suspects are connected to the first case. In both incidents card sharing networks distributed codes to illegally access Pay-TV content.
Close collaboration of AEPOC members with the Cypriot police continues to be successful – and action has been swift. The intense, but comparatively short, operation took six months, including preparation and undercover investigation. In the past three weeks a total of 11 card sharing servers have been dismantled in Cyprus. The accused in the first case has already admitted the charges.
A recent court case in Germany required more time and resilience. After a two year trial a man was sentenced to two years imprisonment for having offered illicit pirate software to access Pay-TV services, including those of Premiere, the predecessor company of Sky Deutschland. The operator had filed the initial complaint for this criminal law case and also served as an expert witness during the court hearing. With the accused denying the charges until the very end, the court of Bautzen conducted 16 hearings over the past two years and interrogated some 70 witnesses to prove the commercial character of the pirate activity. According to German law on “computer fraud” it is necessary to demonstrate the objective of commercial gain or to prove a criminal act to impose a severe punishment. Initially some 972 individual incidents of piracy were brought to court, which the prosecutors reduced to 100 to limit the scope of the already long-haul trial. The final judgment was based on 42 incidents of computer fraud committed by the man.
A smaller card sharing incident in the UK was successfully stopped, following evidence passed to the West Yorkshire Police by BSkyB and FACT. On 31 May, 2011, the owner of a satellite supplies shop in Leeds was sentenced to 14 days imprisonment and a fine of £2,000 by the Leeds Crown Court for having offered illicit services to some 36 clients to access several broadcast channels. While the network was of smaller dimension the judgment, rightly, underlines the criminal nature of Pay-TV piracy.
AEPOC executive director Sheila Cassells said, “AEPOC is pleased to see such swift action by the Cypriot police to stop these large scale card sharing network. This is only the beginning, with AEPOC members currently preparing several more investigations. AEPOC and its members are determined to do all that is required to reduce piracy.”