Content pirates face jail, multi-million euro fines after court finds in favour of beIN, Digit-Alb | Security | News | Rapid TV News
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A Swedish court has handed down prison sentences and ordered €20 million in damages to pirate broadcaster Advanced TV Network (ATN), for illegally distributing content from broadcasters beIN Media and Digit-Alb.

beIN Sports 4 July 2018
Three defendants were tried for violating Sweden’s Decoder Act, Copyright Act, Offensive Weapons Act and the Trademark Act.

This week they received prison terms ranging from one year to two and a half years, subject to appeal.

ATN is based in Malmö, Sweden but also has operations in the US, Greece, Denmark and Canada, according to Nordic Content Protection, the anti-piracy industry group for Nordic broadcasters, which originally filed the complaint in 2016.

The Stockholm court said it had been “shown beyond reasonable doubt” that Arabic content pirate ATN had not been given the rights “to broadcast the beIN channels in question”, as it had tried to argue.

“This legal case is really significant in the fight against illegal TV pirates,” said Cameron Andrews, senior legal counsel – Anti Piracy, of beIN Media Group. “TV pirates like ATN package hundreds, and often thousands of pirated television channels from around the world, and then make big money by selling subscriptions. These businesses are parasites, making huge profits off the back of stolen content.

“The damages and prison sentences ordered by the Swedish court reflect the serious harm that piracy on this scale causes. Enforcement actions like this ruling against ATN are an important part of the legitimate industry’s efforts to tackle this piracy, and sends a strong message that piracy on this scale will not be tolerated. We sincerely thank Nordic Content Protection for their efforts and determination in bringing the pirates to justice.”

ATN has also been accused of streaming content from the current FIFA World Cup in Russia from another pirate channel, beoutQ, which in turn is accused of illegally distributing matches for which beIN Media holds the exclusive Middle East TV rights. This demonstrates, said Nordic Content Protection, “the inter-connectivity and audacity of the pirate ATN operation”.

The Swedish court ordered the defendants to pay a total of €18.8 million in damages (plus interest and legal costs) to Qatar-based beIN Media Group and €1.4 million in damages (plus interest and legal costs) to Albania’s Digit-Alb, the two legitimate broadcasters who were victims of the piracy.

Alban Jaho, CEO of Digit-Alb said the “ruling sets a clear precedent that those responsible should repay the significant financial losses that are incurred by the rightful owners of the content they are stealing. Piracy is theft – plain and simple – and it is only right that those responsible are punished. In this case, record fines and prison terms have been issued and we hope that this sets an example for other authorities around the world to follow”.