Suspected video streaming pirates nabbed

Admire Moyo
By Admire Moyo, ITWeb's news editor.
Johannesburg, 07 Jun 2024
MultiChoice has announced a breakthrough in its anti-piracy efforts.
MultiChoice has announced a breakthrough in its anti-piracy efforts.

Video entertainment group MultiChoice this week made significant gains in its fight against piracy, it says.

The company announced two arrests of suspected video streaming pirates, in its ongoing commitment to combating the piracy challenge it has faced over the years.

On Wednesday, MultiChoice said it collaborated with business unit Irdeto and South African law enforcement authorities to dismantle the Waka TV pirate operation.

Yesterday, its law enforcement partners arrested another suspect involved in the illegal sale of internet streaming pirate devices that allowed individuals to access MultiChoice content, violating several legal statutes.

According to the company, on 31 May, a raid was executed, leading to the arrest of a key suspect involved in one of the most extensive pirate operations in Africa, known as Waka TV.

“This operation represents a milestone in our relentless commitment to protecting MultiChoice Group’s content and the integrity of our broadcasting services.

“The success of this operation underscores the substantial investment made by Irdeto in investigating and identifying the main suspect involved in this pirate network. The highly-professional support from the [Western Cape Provincial] Cyber Crime Unit led to the apprehending of the main operators behind Waka TV.”

It notes the suspect, who is believed to have managed several pirate customers and resellers, was detained.

MultiChoice alleges the pirate operation illegally distributed live TV channels, including several DStv channels, movies and series. The disruption caused by this raid is a significant blow to the illegal streaming industry in Africa, it says.

MultiChoice is working with the police as investigations continue into the thousands of individuals connected to the Waka TV pirate network.

Resellers supporting the pirate operation are also under investigation, says the company. “This collaborative effort aims to dismantle the entire network and bring all perpetrators to justice.”

The arrested suspect appeared before court on 3 June, facing charges of fraud and contravention of the Cyber Crime Act. Additional charges are being considered in consultation with the senior public prosecutor.

In the other case, the Serious Commercial Crime Unit of the Hawks (Gauteng) on 4 June arrested a suspect involved in the illegal sale of internet streaming pirate devices that allowed individuals to illegally access MultiChoice content.

The suspect was granted bail of R3 000 and the case is scheduled for a hearing on 18 June at the Kempton Park Magistrate Court.

“Digital piracy, far from being a fringe activity, has become a widespread practice that transcends demographics and geographies, challenging the norms of intellectual property rights,” says Frikkie Jonker, Irdeto broadcasting cyber security anti-piracy director.

“Acts of piracy, ranging from illegal streaming to black-market digital piracy, are forms of copyright infringement that undermine the efforts of content providers and the software industry. They also pose a digital threat to the commercial distribution of content.”