South Korean IT experts convicted of selling TV piracy technoloy
Friday, January 5th, 2007

A South Korean court passed suspended jail sentences today on three IT experts for selling equipment that enabled viewers in the Middle East and Europe to watch paid TV channels for free. The Seoul Central District Court said the three received jail terms of up to two years, with their sentences suspended for two years.

The three, identified only by their family names of Chung, Lee and Shim, operate separate IT companies. They were also ordered to pay 30 million won (32,190 dollars) in fines. They were found guilty of exporting set-top boxes equipped with technology to unscramble satellite TV signals.

“They were found guilty of violating copyrights of satellite broadcasters in Europe and Arab countries,” Judge Roh Tae-Ak said in his ruling. ”Considering the worldwide trend of strengthening copyright protection, their behaviour is very dangerous and damaged our (South Korea’s) external credibility.”

Prosecutors said Chung and Lee sold 35,000 satellite TV receivers to the Middle East and Europe, and Shim exported 4,000 such devices to Poland. The investigation began last year following a joint complaint from satellite broadcasters based in Europe and the Middle East.

(Source: AFP)