The Abu Dhabi Court has convicted the administrator of a pirate website used to illegally upload torrents and facilitate illegal streaming of copyrighted television series, movies and misusing pay-TV platform OSN's intellectual property rights.
Following a complaint by OSN, the Abu Dhabi Police investigated and presented the complaint with evidence to the prosecutor's office, who prepared and charged the pirate with criminal offences.
In court hearings, a technical expert was appointed who reviewed the evidence and conducted hearings to cross examine the pirate's defence. The expert then prepared and presented a comprehensive report for the Court.
Based on the facts and evidence, the court passed judgment sentencing the pirate to six months in jail followed by deportation to his home country.
The pirate was also ordered to pay Dh50,000 as compensation to OSN for copyright and trademark infringement. As per the court's order, the Prosecutor's Office will work with the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) to block the pirate website.
The pirate was initially imprisoned for about two months and has since appealed the verdict.
"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," said Sophie Moloney, General Counsel of OSN.
"Our efforts against DishTV India for piracy have resulted in positive results. We have also made significant advances in fighting IPTV piracy. The action against illegal operators will serve as a stern warning against TV piracy. The public can contribute to fighting it by voluntarily staying away from accessing illegal content on any platforms."
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.
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