Three Sydney men have been arrested and charged with breaches of the Copyright Act after being caught selling unauthorised decryption equipment.

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Police allege the men were engaged with the selling or hiring of unauthorised devices capable of decoding the signals of subscription television (pay-TV) broadcasters such as Austar, Foxtel and United Broadcasting International (UBI).

AFP’s National Manager for Economic and Special Operations, Assistant Commissioner Mandy Newton, said these arrests should serve as a warning to consumers against the purchase and use of unauthorised decryption devices.

“We would remind consumers that use of unauthorised decryption equipment constitutes a criminal offence.  Our officers have taken possession of documentation which may serve to identify purchasers of this equipment and investigations into this matter are ongoing.”

Meanwhile, Astra, Australia’s leading body representing the subscription television (STV) sector has welcomed the charges laid by the AFP as part of a national anti-piracy operation.


Astra’s Chief Executive Officer, Debra Richards, said: “STV piracy has major ramifications for the growth of the sector and puts jobs and investment at risk. STV piracy is unlawful and the industry is committed to ensuring that pirates are dealt with by the authorities. We will continue to work with the AFP on this important matter.”

FOXTEL’s Chief Executive Officer Kim Williams said: “Piracy is stealing. It undermines our growth and our ability to keep investing and creating jobs for Australians working in all aspects of making television. It is also damaging to the Australian economy and we will continue to work with the AFP to stop this criminal activity.”

AUSTAR’s Chief Executive Officer, John Porter, said: “The AFP’s action sends a strong message about this serious crime. Australian subscription television piracy benefits no one and the end result will be that people who access an illegal product will waste their money. STV Piracy is theft and will be treated accordingly by the relevant authorities as the AFP has shown,” Mr Porter said.

The maximum penalty for breaching this section of the Copyright Act is five years imprisonment and/or a fine of $60,500.

See: www.astra.org.au and www.afp.gov.au

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