During a raid earlier this month, the emirate’s police force seized 202 pirated boxes…

Remember those old ‘Piracy is a Crime’ TV ads? An anxious youth downloads movies in her bedroom whilst banners flash up on the screen questioning the collective moral integrity of society.

“You wouldn’t steal a car” we’re told reassuringly. Or a handbag. Or a TV. Which going on available crime statistics, is absolutely true by overwhelming majority. But just how much of an issue is TV and film piracy really in this post-Limewire era?

TV network, OSN believes it’s a big one. They assisted Abu Dhabi Police in tracking down three shops in Abu Dhabi’s satellite TV Market hub, Electra Street, that were selling pirated TV equipment.

It’s a subject OSN is tuned in to of course. They estimate that piracy digs a USD750 million hole in the MENA region’s entertainment industry, a sector they are one of the leading names in.

And it’s a hole if not plugged, that will ultimately have to be paid for by us, the end-user — through increased advertising, higher subscription fees or by the closure of some of our favourite creative houses.

Pirates of the pandemic

With the movement restrictions of the National Sterilisation Programme, this year has seen an explosion in the number of dodgy boxes, satellite cards and links being used to illegally access licensed material.

Which is why OSN supplied Abu Dhabi Police Economic Crimes Department with criminal activity intelligence that enabled the aforementioned Downtown bust. A raid that led to the arrest of three individuals, closure of three shops and confiscation of 202 pirated boxes.

A communication from the broadcaster said that this was one of 43 raids across the region resulting in the removal of thousands of boxes and illegal cards from the market, so far in 2020.

They’ve also managed to remove more than 380,000 links for pirated content.

You might also like

How to check the air quality where you live in Abu Dhabi
Exclusive Reveal: We take you inside the new Cove Beach location
9 upcoming Abu Dhabi mega projects to get excited about

Hanif Khan, Director of Anti-Piracy & Content Security at OSN said: “it is our duty to work with the authorities and invest in equipment, training and solutions to combat this crime.”

“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.”

Giving back to the people

One hugely positive way in which OSN has been tackling the piracy issue is through its online streaming app. Its great value price point, makes it more accessible for casual viewers.

At just Dhs35 per month the service gives you access to a huge range of TV and movies from the worlds of Disney, Marvel, Pixar, HBO, Universal, MGM, Paramount, Hollywood, Bollywood, The Middle East, Turkey and more.

These raids demonstrate that Abu Dhabi Police is taking the crime very seriously, and we should expect to see further clampdowns in the future.

Images: Unsplash