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Wed 13 May 2015 12:13 PM

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UAE shops raided for providing illegal TV services

Sharjah Economic Development Department fines three outlets

UAE shops raided for providing illegal TV services
Most direct-to-home overspill services are illegal in the MENA region. (Getty Images)

Three shops in the UAE emirate of Sharjah have been raided with fines imposed on their owners for providing illegal TV services, according to a joint statement from the Sharjah Economic Development Department (SEDD) and pay-TV network OSN.

The three raids were conducted following a workshop organised by OSN for the SEDD's commercial officers, the statement said. The SEDD said that this training had provided the organisation with a "comprehensive overview" of the impact of TV piracy, and had led the department to taking strong measures to curb it.

"We view TV piracy as a serious offence that violates intellectual property rights and causes huge losses to our economy. SEDD will issue circulars to building owners asking them not to permit unauthorised TV distribution services," said Bader Al Salman, acting deputy director of the Commercial Control and Protection Department at SEDD.

"Fines will be imposed and products will be confiscated if any violation is brought to our attention. We encourage people to voluntarily refrain from accessing unauthorised TV services."

According to industry reports, TV piracy costs the industry over $500 million every year. The Anti-Piracy Coalition has launched a campaign called 'Do the Right Thing,' encouraging unauthorised pay-TV subscribers to swap their service for a legitimate and authorised TV services.

"We are thankful to SEDD for their solid support and prompt action in addressing TV piracy. To address TV piracy which impacts not only legal content providers but also creative industries, it is important to be constantly vigilant to the new techniques illegal operators adopt," said David Butorac, CEO at OSN.

"Such committed action by SEDD will strengthen our drive to eradicate TV piracy by increasing awareness among end-users and taking stern action against violators."

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