In accordance with Virgin Media's Terms and Conditions, it is illegal to copy, distribute copies, show in public or rebroadcast any part of the television programmes or channels provided to you as part of the television service without the consent of the copyright owners.
Access to our services via any device other than what has been installed contractually by the company is illegal. Use of any device not provided by Virgin Media is a criminal and civil offence and is in breach of civil law exposing violators to substantial penalties and /or jail time.
Virgin Media takes the threat of piracy very seriously. We actively co-operate with industry partners to combat this illegal activity.
We have an anti-piracy team that constantly monitors activity across our network in addition to monitoring the sale and use of these devices on online and offline markets. Furthermore, from a technical point of view we constantly deploy electronic counter-measures to impede the use of these illegal boxes.
The sale, purchase and possession of illicit devices that have no legitimate use other than to by-pass a protected signal such as Virgin Media's is unequivocally illegal. Where the company is aware of theft of the broadcast signal we will not hesitate to follow all legal avenues to protect our business interests and those of the content providers whose material we make available.
Virgin Media reserves the right to prosecute offenders to the fullest extent of the law.
If you are aware of such illegal activity please email Virgin Media confidentially at: email@example.com
What is unauthorised use of Television Service?
It simply means TV piracy or theft of services not normally available for free but only on the basis of paying for access to those services. TV piracy results in revenue losses across the entire TV content distribution from the content producers to the TV platform companies.
What are the forms of TV piracy?
There are many forms of TV piracy - all of which constitute theft and are prosecutable by law and punishable by considerable fines and/or jail time. Examples of TV piracy are as follows:
- Use of TV services without actually being a subscriber of that service provider (unauthorised connection to our network)
- Sharing of service provider connection (i.e. splitting the cable and adding an extra connection within your own house or to a neighbour's house)
- Selling, advertising, possessing or using illicit devices to circumvent encryption measures of service provider to access TV services without permission or payment
- Subscribing to basic subscription while accessing premium content for free by the use of illicit devices to circumvent encryption measures of a service provider
- Using domestic TV subscription for commercial use
I don't understand how this can be considered to be theft?
TV content is not free.
Artists, performers, writers and producers of TV content make their living off their creativity and charge TV channels for the right to show their content. TV channels in turn charge Virgin Media fees in order to be able to include these channels in their TV packages. These fees are generally referred to as copyright fees.
The cost of your monthly subscription fee partially pays for these copyright fees. It also covers day-to-day costs in maintaining and upgrading the network over which this content can be made available. The costs are therefore no different to the operational costs of any commercial entity running a business.
This means that unless Virgin Media pays for the right to distribute this content, you the ultimate customer would not be able to view such content.
TV piracy results in lower margins to offset these day-to-day costs which may ultimately mean that the cost of the product has to be increased so as to offset outgoing expenses.
As such accessing content by illicit means is therefore denying both content and platform providers a return on their economic goods and can therefore be constituted as stealing.
Where does it decree TV Piracy is illegal?
TV piracy is a criminal offence and in breach of civil law. It is prosecutable under the following Acts (please see Annex for relevant text):
- Broadcasting Act 1990 - Section 9, 10 and 11
- Copyright and Related Acts 2000 - Section 372
- EC (Conditional Access) Regulations, 2000 (SI 357 of 2000) - Section 3
Why does TV piracy affect all end users?
In addition to higher prices as detailed above, TV piracy can also affect a platform providers' quality of service.
Cable is a two-way broadcast network therefore equipment that is inferior or does not form part of our end-to-end product can generate "feedback" back into the network. Given cable is a shared network, "feedback" from alien equipment residing on our network can affect the quality of service for legitimate users.
TV piracy therefore decreases the quality and increases the cost of the service for all.
Finally, widespread piracy of copyright content jeopardises the jobs of those employees not only within the platform provider community but also those within the Arts community since they are denied their justifiable returns on investment.
How do I know if I am in possession of an illicit device?
All Virgin Media equipment is clearly branded. If you are in procession of equipment or sourced it from anyone other than Virgin Media you are breaking the law.
Anyone using such a device to access Virgin Media's services is advised to cease use immediately. Virgin Media considers to have adequately informed users of the illegality of this equipment via references on the back of customer's bill and information available on the virginmedia.ie website. Customers are also advised that mis-use of equipment to access encrypted services also runs contrary to Terms and Conditions in customer's contracts.
What can I do if I am in possession of an illicit device?
Anyone currently in receipt of Virgin Media services that they are not paying for should contact Virgin Media and sign up to the correct package.
Annex - Provisions under Irish Legislation
Section 9 Broadcasting Act 1990
(1) No person, other than a duly authorised officer of the Minister, shall, in relation to a service provided by a licensee or a service provider-
( a ) intercept the service,
( b ) suffer or permit or do any other thing that enables such interception by any person,
( c ) possess, manufacture, assemble, import, supply, or offer to supply, any equipment which is designed or adapted to be used for the purpose of enabling such interception by any person, or
( d ) publish information with the intention of assisting or enabling any person to intercept such a service.
No person shall-
( a ) knowingly install or attempt to install or maintain any equipment which is capable of being used or designed or adapted to be used for the purpose of enabling such interception by any person, or
( b ) wilfully damage or attempt to damage a system or part of a system operated by a licensee or service provider.
Section 10 Broadcasting Act 1990
(3) A person who contravenes any provision of subsection (1) or (2) shall be guilty of an offence
(1) No person, being the owner of, or in control of, or concerned in the management of, any premises shall knowingly suffer or permit any action or conduct to which section 9 relates to occur on such premises.
(2) A person who contravenes subsection
(1) shall be guilty of an offence.
(3) Where in proceedings for an offence under this section it is proved that an offence was committed in or on particular premises and that the defendant was, at the time of the alleged offence, the owner of, or in control or concerned in the management of, the premises then, unless there is sufficient other evidence to raise an issue as to whether the defendant knowingly permitted the offence to have been committed, he shall be treated as having so suffered or permitted the offence to have been committed.
Section 11 Broadcasting Act 1990
A person guilty of an offence under section 9 or 10 shall be liable:
(a) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or, at the discretion of the court, to a fine not exceeding €1,270.00,
(b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or, at the discretion of the court, to a fine not exceeding €25,400.00 or to both such fine and such imprisonment.
Copyright and Related Acts 2000
A person who is authorised by the rightsowner-
(a) to make charges for the reception of programmes included in a broadcast or cable programme service, or
(b) to send encrypted transmissions of any other description, has the same rights and remedies against a person who-
(II) sells, rents or lends, or offers or exposes for sale, rental or loan,
(III) imports into the State, or
(IV) has in his or her possession, custody or control, any apparatus or protection-defeating device, knowing or having reason to believe that the apparatus or device is to be used to enable or assist persons to receive those programmes or transmissions when those persons are not so entitled, or
(ii) provides information, or offers or performs any service, intended to enable or assist persons to receive those programmes or transmissions when those persons are not so entitled, as a rightsowner has in respect of an infringement of any of his or her rights under this Act.
EC (Conditional Access) Regulations, 2000 (SI 357 of 2000)
"protected service" means any of the following services, where provided against remuneration and on the basis of conditional access -
(a) television broadcasting, meaning the initial transmission by wire or over the air, including that by satellite, in unencoded or encoded form, of television programmes intended for reception by the public and includes the communication of programmes between undertakings with a view to their being relayed to the public, but does not include communication services providing items of information or other messages on individual demand such as telecopying, electronic data banks and other similar services,
3.A person who -
(a) for commercial purposes -
(i) manufactures, imports, distributes, sells, rents or possesses, or
(ii) installs, maintains or replaces, illicit devices, or
(b) uses commercial communications (including all forms of advertising, direct marketing, sponsorship, sales promotion and public relations) to promote illicit devices,is guilty of an offence.
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