AAPA members drive conviction of illegal card-sharing network in Belgium

Editor | 26-11-2013

The Audiovisual Anti-Piracy Alliance (AAPA) is celebrating the conviction of a Belgian card-sharing network hosting 400 users and his accomplice and awarded damages to injured parties.

The criminal court of Dinant convicted the network operator of a card-sharing network hosting approximately 400 users who advertised his card-sharing services through eBay in conjunction with the sale of specifically adapted decoders. The accomplice also sold subscriptions to the operator’s network in exchange for a percentage of the subscription fee.

The operator was sentenced to 150 hours of community service, or a six-month jail sentence, and ordered the forfeiture of his assets used for the infringement as well as the confiscation of €111,139.25. The accomplice was convicted by default to a deferred sentence of four months imprisonment, confiscation of assets used and an amount equivalent to €2,135.

In 2009, a number of AAPA members (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 €100,000 from the illegal activities with 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.

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. Its current members include BSkyB, Conax, Eutelsat, INSIDE Secure, Irdeto, Liberty Global, Melita, Nagra, NDS, Nova, Open Tech, Pace, Sky Deutschland, Sky Italia, Verimatrix, Viaccess-Orca and Ziggo.

Commenting on the judgment, Christine Maury, Panis, VP of AAPA and EVP and General Counsel of Viaccess-Orca, said: “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.”