Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 May 2019

Trader jailed for selling illegal Dish TV India services as UAE cracks down on piracy

The Court of Cassation upheld an earlier verdict which found the dealer had infringed the copyrights and related intellectual property of Dubai broadcaster OSN

OSN has been fighting the illegal sale and operation of DishTV India and Airtel systems in the UAE and other GCC countries. Sarah Dea / The National
OSN has been fighting the illegal sale and operation of DishTV India and Airtel systems in the UAE and other GCC countries. Sarah Dea / The National

A TV trader caught in possession of more than 2,000 illegal set top boxes during a piracy crackdown has lost an appeal against a three-month jail sentence and been hit with a Dh50,000 fine.

The Court of Cassation, the UAE's highest court, upheld an earlier verdict which found the dealer had infringed the copyrights and related intellectual property of Dubai-based broadcaster OSN by selling Dish TV India subscriptions in the UAE.

A number of smart cards and a "substantial amount" of cash was also found in the raid.

Dish TV India is not licensed to be broadcast in the UAE and OSN has led calls for the company to step up efforts to prevent its services being sold in the country.

In addition to imposing the jail term and fine, the court upheld a decision to destroy all the confiscated DishTV India set top boxes, smart cards and remote-control units.

The dealer must also publish the judgement in a local newspaper at his own cost, cover the court fees and pay compensation to OSN.

The ruling sends a very clear message that selling Dish TV India subscriptions in the UAE is criminal, and any dealers doing so will be prosecuted

Simon Wilkes, General Counsel, OSN

Simon Wilkes, General Counsel for OSN, said the company was thankful to the courts for their “unambiguous” verdict against TV piracy.

“The ruling sends a very clear message that selling Dish TV India subscriptions in the UAE is criminal, and any dealers doing so will be prosecuted,” he said.

“We hope that the stern and decisive actions being taken will continue to discourage the practice of selling or using pirate IPTV decoders and DishTV India in the UAE. The Public Prosecutor’s Office, Department of Economic Development in Sharjah, Sharjah Police and the Dubai Forensics Laboratory have given their full support in the fight against piracy, and this ruling is another testament to the commitment and resolve of the UAE to uphold copyright law and protect the interests of lawful businesses.”

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The company has been fighting the illegal sale and operation of DishTV India and Airtel systems in the UAE and other GCC countries, which has led to several legal actions and judgments across the region.

OSN filed a suit for infringement and damages at the Delhi High Court, obtaining an injunction against DishTV India which prevents the company from exporting its set top boxes or receiving any subscription revenue from outside India.

Several distributors have been charged with offences in various emirates in the UAE, as well as in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Jordan and Egypt as a result.

Updated: March 12, 2019 11:13 AM

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