A card-sharing piracy network has been shut down with the operator of the illegal network convicted and sentenced to 240 hours community service and a fine of more than $52,300 (€45,000) at a court in Groningen, Netherlands, following a collaborative investigation led by Dutch Police, VodafoneZiggo and members of the Audiovisual Anti-Piracy Alliance (AAPA). The 40-year old man was convicted of criminal offences relating to card sharing, resulting from the illegal sharing of Ziggo services. An accomplice of the man was also convicted and sentenced to 100 hours of community service.
The sentencing follows raids carried out in March 2017, during which three active card-sharing servers were found, as well as 20 ‘fully-loaded’ Dreamboxes which were being sold via online marketplaces. It was also uncovered during the raid that there were more than 300 customers for these illegal services and devices.
Commenting on the conviction, Mark Mulready, Vice President – Cybersecurity Services, Irdeto and Vice President, AAPA, said: “This conviction is a welcome result of the positive collaboration between law enforcement, leading operators like VodafoneZiggo and members of the AAPA to bring content pirates to justice. This is another step in demonstrating that piracy is a serious crime and will not be tolerated. We will continue to work with our members and partners around the globe to counter piracy in all its forms.”
Despite the growth of streaming piracy, card-sharing piracy continues to pose a major threat to pay TV operators and broadcasters. This form of piracy occurs when a pirate steals and retransmits a regularly changing control word that is passed between a smart card and a set-top-box (STB), allowing subscribers to watch TV content they have not legitimately paid for.