Cape Town – MultiChoice says TV content piracy in Africa won’t be tolerated, saying the conviction of three content pirates to a 2-year jail term and a massive fine shows that content piracy is a serious offense.

MultiChoice Africa and the digital platform security specialist Irdeto worked together to get three Egyptian content pirates convicted. The three were sentenced in Cairo, Egypt to a 2-year jail term and fined £75 000 (R1.28m). They were found guilty on all charges that included selling illegal pirate subscriptions and allowing 163 802 pirate viewers access to watch TV content from international broadcasters.

"Engaging in any form of piracy comes with consequences, and this ruling clearly indicates that piracy will not be tolerated," says Frikkie Jonker, general manager of the Africa Piracy department at MultiChoice Africa.

"These convictions are critical to sending a message to the pirate community that piracy is a serious offence that damages the media and entertainment industry."

"Our collaboration with Irdeto and the unbelievable support of the Egyptian enforcement authorities, without whom this would not have been possible, demonstrates the importance of working together to combat the growing problem of piracy."

The initial investigations into suspects began through a partnership between MultiChoice Africa and Irdeto, before a joint criminal investigation, that led to raids that uncovered several electronic components, servers, almost 40 smartcards from multiple conditional access providers, several pirate decoders, smartcard readers and other related equipment.

"These convictions are a testament to the seriousness of the piracy offence and the commitment of law enforcement worldwide to crack down on these cybercrime networks," says Rory O’Connor, Irdeto vice president of cyber security services.

"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."