Over 1 million zloty awarded in damages for TV piracy | A breakthrough court decision has been made

30 Nov 2020

The 2nd Criminal Division of the District Court in Wieliczka issued a ruling in a high profile case involving an inhabitant of in Cracow County who was involved in providing illegal access to the programs broadcast by pay TV platforms  (“signal sharing”). In accordance with the Court’s ruling, the defendant must repair the damage caused and pay an amount of more than 1 million zloty to the victims, i.e. CANAL+ Polska and Cyfrowy Polsat. It is a record amount in the history of fight against signal sharing in Poland. The man was also sentenced to a year in prison, with three years’ probation. The sentence is final and binding.

The man was arrested in March 2018 in a home in Cracow County where he was constructing an entire infrastructure for illegal TV signal sharing. The police confiscated electronic equipment which played the role of “sharing” servers as well as set-top boxes and computers. Several dozen subscriber cards were installed in the server, enabling reception of scrambled pay TV programs and then sharing the signal with unauthorized recipients. The person who organized this “signal sharing” system collected fees for providing access to TV shows. The fees were substantially lower than in
the case of legal contracts. Upon searching the premises, the police found nearly PLN 180 thousand in cash.

The defendant was found guilty of the charges. In order to achieve financial benefits he was providing services prohibited by law which involved enabling illegal access by unauthorized persons to the programs from Cyfrowy Polsat S.A. and NC+ (CANAL+ Polska at present) pay TV satellite platforms while using prohibited devices that the defendant designed and customized to his needs. The act constitutes a crime defined by Art. 6, items 1 and 2, in connection with the Art. 7, item 1 of the Act on the legal protection of electronic pay services or services involving conditional access, dated 5 July 2002 (Journal of Law no. 1265 of 2002, item 1068).

By virtue of Art 46 § 1 of the Criminal Code, the Court’s ruling obligates the defendant to repair the damage caused, including t by payment of the following amounts to the victims:

  • •to Cyfrowy Polsat S.A. – the amount of PLN 526 299.53,
  • •to Canal+ Polska S.A. the amount of PLN 526 299.53.

The case was of developmental nature and still one more suspect was arrested. The other man was also sentenced to imprisonment with a probation period, as well as to payment of a compensation to the victims.

Last updated 12/07/2020