Abu Dhabi Police arrest three people in clampdown on TV piracy

Officers raid three outlets and seize 202 devices in the capital

DUBAI, UAE. February 22, 2015 - Photograph of satellite dishes on rooftops in a residential area in Al Satwa in Dubai, February 22, 2015. (Photos by: Sarah Dea/The National, Story by: Standalone, News)
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Abu Dhabi Police arrested three people and raided several shops in a sweeping campaign against TV piracy.

Officers closed three outlets in raids on electronic shops on Electra Street and confiscated 202 devices.

It came after a complaint from service provider OSN of piracy at some shops.

Electra Street, known formally as Zayed the First Street, is known for its teeming network of small outlets selling legal electronics, satellite dishes and TVs. But authorities have found some shops flouting the law before.

"Piracy is causing enormous losses for the entertainment industry, the authorities and the end users," said Hanif Khan, director of anti-piracy and content security at OSN.

"Two out of these three stores had been raided before and that means people can expect much harsher punishments and punitive fines if they continue to participate in these damaging activities.

“We still have a long way to go to reduce piracy in the region."

According to OSN, piracy costs the entertainment industry in the Mena region up to $750 million every year, an amount that has increased owing to restrictions imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company said it noticed a surge in downloads of pirate applications being used to view its content and channels illegally.

OSN said this year alone it removed more than 380,000 links for pirated content online, conducted 43 raids across the region and confiscated thousands of boxes along with illegal cards.

Teams from OSN supported police during the raid, which took place this month.

Abu Dhabi Police said it was committed to eradicating piracy and urged the public to use only authorised distributors to avoid commercial fraud.