Spain tries to rein in pay TV pirates

Operation Garden in full effect

MADRID — In a wide-ranging pay TV piracy sting, dubbed Operation Garden, anti-delinquency squads and regional police special units raided premises in 15 Spanish provinces, arresting 50 people on various criminal charges.

Among the arrested were 10 web page managers accused of facilitating software codes to crack encrypted programming, 22 distributors of alleged counterfeit decoders, 16 local TV honchos and two presidents of neighborhood associations on suspicion of illicitly relaying pay TV signals.

The piracy cost pay TV operators several million dollars in lost business, Sogecable claimed.

Raid looks more like a shock-and-awe operation designed to dissuade Spaniards from pay TV piracy.

Sogecable noted in a press release Wednesday that arrests repped just a first-phase crackdown. Spain has recently stiffened sanctions against film and TV piracy. Conviction can now run up to two years’ imprisonment.

But anti-piracy orgs in Spain claim that the country needs far more operations of this type to even start to get a grip on piracy.

And that the key will be a sea change in Spaniards attitude toward Internet downloading. Most young Spaniards see nothing wrong at all in unauthorized downloading.

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