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Milestone conviction targets TV Piracy in the UAE

An expat is to be deported after being convicted by Dubai Courts of providing illegal Internet TV in the UAE

Published: Updated:

An expat is to be deported after being convicted by Dubai Courts of providing illegal Internet TV in the UAE in what has been described as a milestone ruling.

The defendant, who has not been named, has also been jailed for three months and received a 50,000 dirham fine ($13,600).

The TV piracy conviction comes after the defendant was found guilty of selling IP888 TV Services.

TV provider OSN has been working closely the UAE authorities in fighting TV piracy, leading a campaign against the illegal use of Dish TV across Gulf region markets.

The OSN ‘Do the Right Thing’ campaign has so seen the TV provider conduct a total of 213 raids across the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.

These raids have resulted in a significant curbing of illegal distribution of illegal TV services. Several unauthorised operators have been fined, shops closed and equipment confiscated.

IPTV pirate TV services have largely been provided illegally to western expats, committing all forms of copyright and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) infringement.

Responding to the conviction, 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.”

It is not the first prosecution for TV piracy in the UAE. In a previous case the court ruled that a distributor and seller of an illegal IPTV service operating under the name UKTV Abroad were fined 50,000 dirhams, after being found guilty of pushing pirated feeds of TV channels from the UK.

According to OSN these latest actions come amid an increase in the use of illegal IPTV services in the country through platforms such as UKTV Abroad, IP888 TV, Primetimetv.TV, Volka TV, Royal IPTV, GIPTV and Expat TV.

Omar Obeidat, Partner and Head of Intellectual Property at leading law firm Al Tamimi & Co. said: “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.”