SYDNEY — Illegally accessing pay TV will become a criminal offense in Oz under new measures announced by Attorney General Phillip Ruddock.
Laws protect the copyright of shows on feevee, but no such legislation exists to prosecute the owners of dodgy dishes and suspect smart cards used to get feevee for free.
Ruddock said the government is getting tough on pay TV piracy, which costs the feevee industry an estimated A$50 million ($37.5 million) a year in lost revenue. The move comes after a 6-month review of the issue.
“The government does not condone pay TV signal theft,” he said.
The proposed new laws will also prevent feevee subscribers from broadcasting a signal to other premises or using the signal for commercial purposes.
Oz signed a Free Trade Agreement with the U.S. on Jan 1 in which it agreed to study feevee piracy.
Industry body the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Assn. (Astra) applauded the move.
“This will bring Australian protection for subscription television in line with the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand and is welcome news for the sector,” Astra chairman Nick Greiner said.
Ruddock hopes to introduce the legislation to parliament this year.