Piracy is one of the most common problems of modern era. The advancement of technology creates lots and lots of sophisticated pirates. Though it is illegal to copy, distribute or broadcast any television channel, TV program or clip without the permission of the copyright owner, it is very common today because of piracy and the modern pirates use clever software to hide their locations and steal high-quality content. For example, it is illegal and is considered an infringement of copyright to watch a pay TV channel through an unauthorized card sharing or set-top box without a proper subscription from the licensed operator.
According to the UAE’s Department for Economic Development (DED), in the Gulf, the illegal copying and distribution of content costs up to $500 million a year. David Butorac, chief executive of OSN and one of the Anti-Piracy Coalition, states
Governments in the region are beginning to recognise that the economic impact of piracy is not limited to the private sector but also the wider economy . . . Piracy is a black market economy worth hundreds of billions of dollars in the Gulf, where it is prevalent . . . New techniques are constantly being adopted by illegal operators. It is important for everyone to understand the various forms piracy takes and uphold the rights of the authorized providers who invest in such content.
In August, the Dubai Courts imposed a fine of AED50,000 ($13,613) on a distributor of UKTV Abroad packages, an unlicensed IPTV service operating in the UAE. In June, a shop caught selling television subscription packages illegally was fined AED200,000 and ordered to shut down for one year in Abu Dhabi. Illegal piracy in this region covers everything from knockoff DVDs, to internet ‘torrent’ downloads .
Saudi Arabia including the UAE government is working with the Anti-Piracy Coalition to tackle the issue and is now recognized as one of the most proactive in the Gulf.