An Abu Dhabi Court has convicted the administrator of a pirate website for illegally uploading torrents and facilitating illegal streaming of copyrighted television series, movies, and misusing the intellectual property rights of OSN, the Dubai-based pay-TV platform.
OSN said in a statement that the court sentenced the pirate to six months in jail followed by deportation to his home country.
It added that the pirate was also ordered to pay Dhs50,000 as compensation to OSN for copyright and trademark infringement by illegally uploading torrents and facilitating illegal downloading of content using the pirate website.
According to estimates by the International Data Corporation, TV piracy – through the use of illegal set-top boxes, unauthorised VPN subscriptions, and torrent downloads – costs over $750 million in losses to the content and consumer product creation industries in the Middle East and Africa every year.
The Prosecutor’s Office will work with the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) to block the pirate website, OSN said. The pirate was initially imprisoned for about two months and has since appealed the verdict, it added.
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Sophie Moloney, general counsel of OSN, said: “The authorities have adopted extreme vigilance to all forms of television piracy, which has resulted in websites streaming illegal content being blocked in the UAE. Stealing movies or television series is an offence, whether it is online or as DVDs from a shop, and the authorities recognise that the financial impact on the legitimate copyright owners will be the same.
“Our efforts against DishTV India for piracy have led to positive results on ground led by the raids and prompt action by the proactive efforts on the authorities. We have also made significant advances in fighting IPTV piracy. The action against illegal operators will serve as a stern warning against TV piracy.”
OSN said it is championing a concerted awareness and action campaign against TV piracy. It has rallied other TV content providers under the aegis of the Do the Right Thing campaign with the support of the concerned authorities.
Over the years, OSN said its efforts to curb TV piracy has resulted in illegal providers were charged with offences in various emirates in the UAE, as well as in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Jordan and Egypt.