Press release BoxID: 135619 (AEPOC Association Européenne pour la Protection des Œuvres et Services Cryptés)
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AEPOC: Shaping the audio-visual future – for the benefit of plurality

European Anti-Piracy Association – Board of Directors meeting in Dublin

(PresseBox) (Dublin, ) .
- AEPOC intensifies dialogue with EU Commission on CA-Directive
- Anti-Piracy update: raids and actions in Portugal and Ireland
- ‘Card Wars’ – dangerous level of ‘professionalism’ within the piracy underground economy

AEPOC, the European Association for the Protection of Encrypted Works and Services, intensifies its dialogue with the European Commission: At the recent Board of Directors meeting of AEPOC held in Dublin the Association welcomed the opportunity for dedicated consultations of the Association with EU commission offices in regard to the cornerstone of EU anti-piracy legislation – the Conditional Access Directive (CAD) – currently being under review. AEPOC representatives have meanwhile presented explicit background information and the standpoint of the Association to the Commission in view of improving the main legal instrument available in the EU to fight audio-visual piracy. Next step for AEPOC will be to comment an interim study within a public consultation to be launched by the Commission on the CAD implementation and functioning during the month of November 2007.

Piracy in public places: Raids and actions in Portugal and Ireland

During the meeting in Dublin, kindly hosted by AEPOC Member Liberty Global/UPC Ireland, TV Cabo Portugal was reached by the breaking news of a large scale anti-piracy raid having been successfully performed in Portugal. The action was conducted by the national Security Authority for Food and Economy (ASAE) and focused on pirating activity and illicit access to pay-TV signals in the hotelier sector, instituting numerous legal proceedings. AEPOC Members congratulated TV Cabo Portugal representative Ricardo Ferreira – having worked closely with the Portuguese authorities in preparing this operation.

In the same context Michael Barley, Director of Security at BSkyB and AEPOC Vice President, presented the company’s anti-piracy measures concerning unauthorized public screenings in the Republic of Ireland, with BSkyB working in close collaboration with UPC. In order to address piracy in public venues where pay-TV signals are received in environments that make a commercial agreement necessary – e.g. in bars, hotels or other public places and in which domestic consumers contracts are not valid – BSkyB has invested in a dedicated anti-piracy team since 2005 and successfully established field forces to detect unauthorised showing of Sky and to brief businesses on the consequences of unauthorised reception. The action is leading to a high level of awareness within the public area sector and continues to contribute significant additional subscription revenue – with some severe cases having made prosecution necessary.

Further studying the situation in Ireland Brian Finegan, Director General of Irelands’ INFACT – the Irish National Federation Against Copyright Theft – participated in AEPOC’s meeting as an observer and presented an overview of the criminal enforcement actions initiated by INFACT on behalf of the film industry in the country, leading to a 99,6% success rate in prosecution with over 5.000 criminal raids and seizures conducted in Ireland to date.

A pirate-against-pirate ‘Card War’ has begun– dangerous level of ‘professionalism’ reached

At the same time AEPOC observes a dangerous level of professional organisation reached within the underground economy of the pirate cards business – giving a strong hint to the high amounts of money involved. Dr. Peter Laackmann and Marcus Janke of Infineon explained the clear trend from non-secured to certified chips used, appearing not only in black markets but also by established retail sources as hackers try to camouflage the main use of the illicit devices by labelling – e.g. pretending a use as “door access card” – aiming to legalize such devices. Within the piracy underground itself a real pirate-against-pirate “Card War” has begun: While pirates aim to protect their business by using the security controller features of certified chips, pirate groups even start to issue ‘killer programs’ to attack the operating system of rivals’ cards, leaving users behind often enough with considerable money spent and lost – besides the risk to expose themselves to litigation.

AEPOC President Jean Grenier summarized the basic problem of piracy: “Each and every piracy infringement not to pay for a certain commercial media offering does slow down the growth and variety of audio-visual content available – and at the same time inhibits the introduction of cheaper consumer prices as the overall refinancing is being illegally cannibalised by pirating activity. This is the simple but salient problem of piracy”.

Davide Rossi, Secretary General AEPOC added: “While AEPOC Members do continuously report about successful anti-piracy actions – taken or initiated at their own cost – through technical improvements, industry co-operation, anti-piracy campaigns as well as legal proceedings, many issues are still pending – asking for stronger and improved legal deterrents. These must go hand-in-hand with strict law enforcement, if required . The revision of the CA-Directive is accordingly a significant milestone for the pay-TV and media industries and will have a great impact to positively shape the European audio-visual future – for the benefit of plurality”.

The next AEPOC meeting will be held in December 2007 in Brussels.

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