Television piracy has increased over the last number of years to the point where many consumers are so accustomed to it that they are unaware of the fact that it is not only theft, but one that is being cracked down on with severe consequences. The cost of entertainment and media piracy is in the millions and there are now organizations as well as high level authorities that have been taking action against this type of cyber piracy.
One of the biggest takedowns occurred during a sting operation in 2014. A Broadcast Risk Division of MultiChoice cyber piracy investigator pursued a website of AVSupply that was selling a product called “DroidTv Box MXiii”. The online ad indicated that the media-streaming add-ons for XBMC was available in a bundled service with the device. The investigator purchased the box for its listed price of R1,500 and found that the box was pre-loaded with the XBMC media player application, Hulu+, Netflix, Facebook, Plex, and Twitter as well as Fusion, Xunity Respository, and Mashup. This led to a police raid of the premises of AVSupply where they seized a number of the media boxes an additional equipment.
The Multichoice investigator handed over the information to SAFACT (Southern African Federation Against Copyright Theft) and the police. One of the directors of AVSupply, Jacque Hilbert, was offered a deal to plead guilty and if he complied, only he would have a criminal record, allowing his wife (also a director at AVSupply) would be able to walk free of no charges. However, the Hilberts decided to plead ‘not guilty’ and therefore they faced fraud charges.
This is just one of legal situations that have occurred on the topic of tv piracy in South Africa. MultiChoice is not only serious about these crackdowns, but thanks to their diligence, three content pirates have been caught and convicted to 2-year jail sentences as well as heavy fines. MultiChoice Africa has aligned with digital security specialists to work together to get three Egyptian pirates convicted. These individuals were sentenced in Cairo to 2-year jail terms and $97,047 US after being found guilty of selling illegal pirate subscriptions to over 163,000 pirate viewers for television viewing.
MultiChoice Africa general manager of the Africa Piracy Department, Frikkie Jonker stated:
“Engaging in any form of piracy comes with consequences, and this ruling clearly indicates that piracy will not be tolerated.” He also said: “These convictions are critical to sending a message to the pirate community that piracy is a serious offence that damages the media and entertainment industry. Our collaboration with Irdeto and the unbelievable support of the Egyptian enforcement authorities, without whom this would not have been possible, demonstrates the importance of working together to combat the growing problem of piracy.”
As our society continues to move into a more advanced ‘connected’ arena, cyber criminals will find new opportunities to create devices to sell to consumers and businesses that are blatantly listed as theft and piracy. Organizations such as SAFACT are coordinating efforts with local authorities as well as expanding their message so that the criminals are aware that they will be prosecuted if found guilty for this type of piracy.
“As a professional company in the cyber security field, Da Vinci Forensics works diligently to monitor as well as educate our clients on the high price that is associated with television and media entertainment piracy. The goal is to ensure that all are aware of the unscrupulous criminals that will attempt to attract with reduced costs and to abide by the adage ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it typically isn’t’. TV and media piracy is included in the cyber security realm as another form of theft and with so many smart devices being used it can also enter into other areas of identity and information theft.”
Da Vinci Forensics