Sydney pay-TV pirate raided
By Colin Mann

Australian police have raided the Sydney arm of an alleged global piracy outfit which they claim was selling unlicensed pay-TV subscription packages, offering over 1,000 channels for A$50 a month.

Police allege the raided premises is part of a global piracy operation which private investigators say is worth A$70 million a year with 150,000 customers. The raid followed private investigations carried out on behalf of Hong Kong’s TVB Group.

A 42-year-old man has been charged and granted conditional bail to appear in court on February 22, charged with “possessing a device with the intent to be used to make infringing copy” and “distributing infringing copy of a work with intent to trade/profit”.

“This international operation and the Australian representatives have shown absolutely no fear of detection or prosecution and have openly advertised on a range of online [websites] and local newspapers,” said Inspector Eric Coffen.

While some of the channels on offer were Asian language, the police brief and forensics report allege that many of the channels offered western content from providers including MTV, Discovery, ESPN, CNN, HBO, Fox, BBC and NBC.

The brief and report also said the service offered a 3D movie channel offering predominantly western titles and provided “several infringing adult entertainment channels offering over 600 current or recent adult movies”.

The raid was the result of a sting conducted by the private investigators who relied on undercover, surveillance and forensic investigations to establish the case.

“This is 70 million dollars that is never going to be spent on legal businesses or services,” said William Bush, one of the investigators. “This is a concerted attack on the legitimate operators and their customers by people interested in profiting from the work of others and it needs to be stopped.”