Police in several states have seized hundreds of illegal Foxtel set top box cards with some investigators now man were claiming that there are between 50 to 100,000 illegal cards in use. Yesterday, two Victorian men were charged with making and selling illegal Foxtel decoders.
Rodney Doove, 42 from Mount Waverley in Victoria and a 27 year old Ballarat charged with making and selling unauthorised decoders.They are also charged with making, distributing and selling fake smart cards and dealing with the proceeds of crime.
In a Federal police statement issued today they claim that hundreds of fake pay television encryption cards and set-top decoders were seized in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland after an investigation which lasted six-months.
The AFP also seized $169,000 and several computers from a Sydney property, and 18 boxes of illegal fireworks that were allegedly being stored at a Victorian house.
A 43-year-old man from Mount Waverley and a 27-year-old man from Sebastopol will face court in Melbourne and Ballarat today. They have been charged with making, distributing and selling fake smart cards or ‘gamma’ cards, which allow people to access the Foxtel and Austar pay television networks without a subscription.
Police say there may be as many as 50,000 fake pay television encryption cards now in use across Australia. AFP National Manager Economic and Special Operations Paul Jevtovic said the operation reflects the successful cooperation between AFP and private industry in tackling criminal exploitation of intellectual property rights.
Meanwhile a Victorian detective told ChannelNews that the amount of fake Foxtel decoder cars could be closer to 100,000 than 50,000.
The two men have been charged with making, importing and selling unauthorized decoders contrary to Section 135 of the Copyright Act 1968, and with dealing with the proceeds of crime contrary to Section 400.3 and 400.5 of the Criminal Code Amendment Act 2002.
The head of the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association, Debra Richards told the Sydney Mornikng Herald “piracy endangered employment and investment in pay television. Many people unwittingly bought fake cards, or were sold them in car parks. “I know a story of a grandmother who said, ‘My grandson gave this to me – he got it at a pub’. If someone knocks on your door or gives you a card in a pub, or, as some pirates do, target supermarket car parks, it can’t be right,” she said.
“We’re really pleased in terms of what’s happened. It sends a great message to the market that there are serious consequences to the activity.”
Kim Williams, the chief executive of Foxtel, said “Today’s actions by the AFP send a clear message to the Australian public that piracy of STV is a serious crime: it is theft and will be treated accordingly.”