Dubai court hands $13k fine to illegal TV provider

Distributor of UKTV Abroad packages in the UAE punished as part of country's fight against digital piracy
(Image for illustration purposes only.)
(Image for illustration purposes only.)

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The Dubai Court has imposed a fine of Dhs50,000 ($13,613) on a distributor of UKTV Abroad packages, an unlicensed and unauthorised Internet Protocol Television service in the UAE, in a significant ruling that will support the fight against digital piracy.

Following a copyright infringement complaint filed by pay-TV firm OSN against the merchant, the Dubai Criminal Investigation Department (CID) conducted a raid on the provider and presented evidence before the court, a statement said.

The court ordered that all the digital set-top boxes/decoders confiscated from the vendor be destroyed. The dealer, a British national, can appeal the ruling within 10 days, the statement added.

Lately, there has been increased proliferation of illegal IPTV services in the country through platforms such as UKTV Abroad, IP888 TV, Prime TV and Expat TV.

OSN and the authorities have stepped up measures to make the public aware and clamp down on illegal operators.

David Butorac, CEO of OSN, said: “This is a major victory in our fight against the new and evolving forms of television piracy. It reiterates that distributing and accessing illegal IPTV services is a crime punishable by law.

"The court ruling will serve as a deterrent for other such providers and also help strengthen awareness among the public about IPTV piracy.

“The UAE’s TV industry is rich and varied with several providers offering legal access to high quality Western content. Illegal IPTV services affect providers who are investing significantly in bringing such content and causing loss to the economy.”

UAE authorities have urged the public to be cautious in using such illegal services as accessing content is also prohibited by UAE law.

OSN has been leading efforts to curb TV piracy through its Do the Right Thing campaign and raids have been carried out in all seven emirates. Several unauthorised operators have been fined, shops closed and equipment confiscated.

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