Jail, fine for illegal vendor of IPTV services

Dubai Courts has sentenced a dealer of illegal IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) services to a three-month jail-term and fined him Dh50,000 followed by deportation after the jail-term.

The defendant, who had been selling IP888 TV services, has the right to appeal within 15 days.

The Dubai Courts ruling is a milestone in the fight against TV piracy, championed by OSN, the region’s leading pay-TV network. It also marks a serious conviction on TV piracy involving the unlicensed and unauthorised distribution of IPTV services in the UAE.

The conviction on the IPTV pirate services, which have been primarily provided illegally to western expats, highlights that authorities are committed to addressing all forms of copyright and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) infringement.

In a previous case, the court ruled that a distributor and seller of an illegal IPTV service operating under the name of UKTV Abroad had to pay a fine of Dh50,000 after being found guilty of pushing pirated feeds of TV channels from the UK.

The recent conviction follows an increase in proliferation of illegal IPTV services in the UAE through platforms such as UKTV Abroad, IP888 TV, Primetimetv.TV, Volka TV, Royal IPTV, GIPTV and Expat TV.

David Butorac, CEO of OSN, said: “The conviction is a strong message to all illegal TV service providers that the government and authorities take copyright infringement seriously. Distributing IPTV service in the UAE is illegal and customers must also be vigilant against accessing such service. We will take strong action and work with the concerned authorities to curb all forms of piracy that impact the industry.”

Omar Obeidat, Partner and Head of Intellectual Property at leading law firm Al Tamimi & Co., said: “The UAE is stringent in its IPR laws and the nation is committed to protecting the legal rights of businesses. TV piracy is increasingly becoming a menace that impacts the industry adversely. It is important that every stakeholder realises that TV piracy of any form will not be tolerated and stern action will be meted out to its perpetrators.”

To-date, OSN has successfully conducted a total of 213 raids across the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar resulting in a significant curbing of illegal distribution of illegal TV services. Several unauthorised operators have been fined, shops closed and equipment confiscated.

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