Before now, I think Nigeria is the most notorious African country. Many of us believe Nigeria is the home where piracy activities thrive most in the world. Broadcast piracy is not peculiar to Nigeria, in fact, we do not have those who are doing the hac*king here in Nigeria. Broadcast pirates hunting has always been on the agenda of every successful pay-TV company. Nigeria serves merely as a redistribution centres to certain pirated broadcast equipment. The actual circumvention of pay-TV or hacking into pay-TV provider’s systems are mainly done in MENA, Asia and some European countries.
Disclaimer: The views and opinion that I express in this article are 100% mine. I shall not be liable for any misinterpretation thereof. If you think any part of this write-up has infringed upon your rights, kindly contact me.
I thought I know it all when it comes to knowing what exactly constitutes intellectual property theft in the pay-tv world. Initially, I used to believe that you are liable if and only if you hack a particular paytv system. I have also discussed intellectual property theft in one of my articles. Well, I am so wrong. Law is not what we think neither is law common sense. Today I will cite some instances of cases involving piracy so that we will all be in the know.
WHAT IS BROADCAST PIRACY?
Broadcast signal intrusion is the hijacking of broadcast signals of radio, television stations, cable television broadcast feeds or satellite signals. Unlicensed broadcasting, also called pirate broadcasting is a term used for any type of broadcasting without a broadcast license. Some unlicensed broadcasting, such as certain low-power broadcasting, may be legal. However, if you involve in piracy for business, you are more likely to be a target for litigation.
WHY DO WE PIRATE BROADCASTING RIGHTS?
Sincerely, I delved into dongles due to poverty. I mean every form of paytv subscription was beyond me. My focus was on survival and nothing more. I rendered more selfless services than anyone around. Even now that I have stopped promoting or making money from unofficial equipment that broadcast paytv channels, I am still fully supporting my people. Now the question is, why do we pirate any content? The followings are the reasons:
- We pirate contents Because the price to get the official / original product is outrageous
- We need freedom which the official package may not offer
- Because we simply want choices/alternatives in a foreign land
- Because the free or trial version is not enough
- And we want to get things for free
- And finally, because we Feel we will not get caught.
In the case of Nigeria and other developing countries of the world, we pirate because we want to make money. Other reasons include: getting things cheaper, paying nothing to get premium contents and having a good life.
CAN PIRACY BE TOTALLY ERADICATED?
Even in the developed countries of the world, we have individuals and groups who pirate contents. The most commonly pirated contents the world over are digital contents. As long as there are consumers patronising pirates, the business will continue to thrive. In Nigeria where I reside, we even have many ignorant people who don’t know that what they are involved in is called piracy. It is very difficult to point out one online resource person out of 100 that has never been involved in piracy.
CATEGORIES OF PIRACY
I will say we have two categories of piracy which are: personal and commercial piracy. Those who do the core jobs do it for personal gratification or merely for the bragging rights. However, we have those who feel the feat is marketable and they pay off the actual h*ckers. Those who collect, reproduce, and distributes pirated products and services are the ones that the content owners targets. In a nutshell, if you sell and distribute pirated devices or services of any kind, you will be in the bad books of the law.
PIRACY SITUATIONS THAT CAN LEAD TO ARREST
Broadcast rights piracy: This is the singular reason why we have broadcast pirates hunting. It simply means you are selling or using what you do not have right to sell or use. Using bein decoders in Nigeria, using dstv in mali, using canal in egypt all fall under this.
Cable piracy This is where for example a genuine PayTV subscriber offers to share his signal with one or more of his neighbours. For example, a company or a person will buy a few DSTV smart cards and will distribute a number of channels via a cable network to subscribers for a monthly subscription fee of his own. In other words, he is making money for himself by selling what he does not own.
Re-broadcasting piracy occurs where a SUD = Single Unit Dwelling smartcard(s) is activated illegally and utilised to transmit Pay-TV channels. Only a television set and an antenna will be required by a viewer to view the pay-tv channels.
Grey mark piracy: This occurs when smartcards are being sold outside the allowed area of coverage. E.g if bein decoders are sold outside MENA, or when canal decoders are sold outside French speaking African countries and are illegally utilised in a region such as Sub-sahara Africa.
Multi-dwelling piracy : SUD = Single Unit Dwelling Subscription
MUD = Multi Unit Dwelling Subscription SUD to MUD piracy occurs where a company or person activates a paytv smartcard, sometimes more than one smartcard, as a SUD subscription. There after, One or more of the channels are then being transmitted illegally to hotels, flats, compounds and housing complexes.
WHEN DOES PIRACY COME UNDER ATTACKS
Piracy come under attack right from the get go. However, immediately the content provider discovers the “proliferation” of pirated copies of his products or services, in the market, the hunting will begin in earnest.
SATELLITE TV BROADCAST PIRACY IN AFRICA
Without mincing words, this is thriving in Africa and a lot of people are smiling to the bank. In the past, both the end users, the sellers and the h*ackers were happy. However today, the credibility of those who are selling dongles(including my very self once upon a time) is in serious jeopardy because it is difficult to d=find a cheap and stable method of watching paytv unofficially. Presently, only the ha*ckers and the sellers to a large extent smile to the bank.
The reason why I quit selling and promoting dongles is that, to me, the satellilte providers have shutdown any means of watching their premium contents cheap. In 2012 through late 2013 if your income is #10,000 ($66) you could stil afford azsky or hawk or microbox.. nowadays, if you cannot invest in a big dish or unlimited data plan, you will not be happy with your purchase. Why paytv ha*king still thrives in africa, Nigeria is not acctually better off. Other African countris with certain signals enjoy the stuffs more. I want to also state it cateorically that while Nigerians has the best brains in africa, we are not the best blackhat ha*kers. We don’t take high risk. We will rather wait for an egytian, a morrocan, or the chinese to hack and we market and make money.
I want to also state it categorically that while Nigerians have the best brains in Africa, we are not the best blackhat ha*kers. We don’t take high risk. We will rather wait for an Egyptian, a Morrocan, or the Chinese to hack and we market and make money.
BROADCAST PIRATES HUNTING
This is where we are focusing our attention on in today’s post. Broadcast pirates hunting or arrest or prosecution is when the content provider go after those he thinks are pirating their contents. Like I said, this is not peculiar to Nigeria alone as it cuts across Africa. I will post an excerpt from a case in Egypt and Europe while I will drop a link for the one that happened in Ghana. Some Arrest made as a result of Broadcast pirates hunting are as follows:
The Spanish National Police and Europol have publicly announced the successful raid of one of the largest European illegal IPTV streaming businesses. In a collaborative operation with Europol, Eurojust, Spanish specialised computer crimes prosecutors, Premier League and Irdeto, 12 locations were raided in Spain and Bulgaria. Dubbed “Operation Casper,” eight individuals were arrested for the illegal distribution of 1,000 pay TV channels across two Internet Service Providers (ISPs) through the use of IPTV technology. The servers used to provide illegal access to the channels were shut down and numerous documents incriminating the individuals under investigation were also confiscated. [Click here to watch Police video of what was found at the scene].
The investigation was initiated by the Premier League as part of a global effort to combat illegal online redistribution of its live broadcasts. Irdeto identified a Danish citizen residing in Spain who owned an ISP in Málaga used to illegally broadcast encrypted TV signals to thousands of consumers and businesses across Europe. It was discovered that this individual was the leader of a criminal organization that was able to provide a high-quality pirate service rivalling offerings from legal operators. Operation Casper also uncovered another illegal organization located in Silistra, Bulgaria that was operated by the same criminal network who had another internet provider in that location covering different European countries. Both of the ISPs identified were legally established, performing legal activities while also exploiting their capacities to provide illegal services.
The following excerpt from the same link will interest you more:
AMSTERDAM – 05 July 2017 – Irdeto, the world leader in digital platform security, and MultiChoice Africa Limited (MAL), a provider of video entertainment services in Africa, today announced that three content pirates have been sentenced in Cairo, Egypt. The sentencing follows multiple piracy raids which uncovered a large cyber crime syndicate illegally offering premium content services. The three defendants were found guilty on all criminal charges and were each sentenced to a two-year jail term and a fine of 75,000 EGP ($4,100 USD).
The syndicate offered control word sharing equipment and illegal pirate subscriptions for sale, allowing 163,802 pirate viewers unauthorized access to content from a number of international broadcasters. The ruling follows extensive collaboration between Egyptian Cybercrime Police, MAL and Irdeto and marks the culmination of one of the largest investigations into an extensive control word sharing piracy network.
The initial investigations into suspects began through a partnership between MAL and Irdeto, before a joint criminal investigation referral was made to the Egypt Ministry of Internal Affairs. Raids were conducted that uncovered several electronic components, servers, almost 40 smartcards from multiple conditional access providers, several pirate decoders, smartcard readers and other related equipment typically used within a pirate control word sharing operation. Cash of over $220,000 USD was also seized during the raids. Further investigation uncovered over 5,000 advertisements for pirate devices on Alibaba B2B platforms.
“These convictions are a testament to the seriousness of the piracy offence and the commitment of law enforcement worldwide to crack down on these cyber crime networks,” said Rory O’Connor, Vice President of Cybersecurity Services, Irdeto. “Our partnership with MultiChoice Africa epitomises our commitment to content owners, rights holders and operators to combat smartcard sharing and other forms of piracy. We will continue to work closely with law enforcement around the globe to shut down criminal pirate networks and ensure that justice is served.”
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He who comes to equity comes with cleans hands. No body is holy, no body is ugly, we are all out there for survival. I will simply advise you guys to stay out of trouble. From what you have read, you can get into trouble more easily if you public possess and distribute pirated contents of any sort. I will not lose any of you anytime soon. Neither to death, sickness or prison. It will be unpardonable if one brings affliction upon oneself. Spread the news.