People walk across a bridge linking two DSTV Multichoice buildings, Randburg. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency(ANA)

CAPE TOWN - A man has been arrested and appeared briefly in court in Cape Town this week for illegally selling pirate internet streaming devices and online content subscriptions, the MultiChoice group (MCG) said in a statement.

The investigation followed information received by the South African Police Service's (SAPS)  provincial commercial detective unit about pirate activities that enabled people to view MultiChoice South Africa content as well as that of other international TV providers illegally, the MCG said in a statement.

Irdeto, a subsidiary of (MCG) with 50 years’ experience in cyber security, worked closely with the SAPS in the investigation which led to the arrest and confiscation of a number of pirate internet streaming devices and server equipment.

The accused appeared in court on December 5 and the case was postponed to February 2020. He was released on R2000 bail.

“We are proud that we have been able to support the South African Police in this important investigation and arrest,” MCG group executive for corporate affairs Joe Heshu said in the statement.

“Content redistribution is a growing problem and has emerged as one of the main forms of piracy over recent years, particularly when it comes to live content such as high-profile sports events. It is important for us to work with the relevant law enforcement agencies to ensure we swiftly and purposefully address this criminal activity,” he said.

In South Africa, it was illegal to provide content to any person or any third party without the consent of the rights holders in accordance with the Copyright and Electronic Communications and Transactions Acts.

“Content theft has become a full-fledged criminal enterprise, providing illegal subscriptions to compete with established operators, and actions like this are crucial in the fight against piracy,” said Frikkie Jonker, Irdeto cyber security anti-piracy director.

“To effectively combat piracy, content owners, operators, and service providers must rely on cutting-edge anti-piracy technologies to identify the source of pirated content and allow for its immediate shutdown. Irdeto is committed to continuing to work proactively with customers, partners and law enforcement to identify and prosecute the parties involved in large commercial streaming piracy networks,” he said.

The police had said they were planning more arrests as they focused their attention on other pirate internet streaming operations in South Africa, the statement said.

African News Agency