The father and son, Michael Scherle, 48 years old and Daniel Albert Clark, 24 years old, were charged with offences relating to the manufacture, distribution and sale of unauthorised decoders, providing users with access to encoded Foxtel broadcasts.
The two were involved in the sale of unauthorised set-top boxes using the internet to hack into encoded broadcasts. Around ten thousand set top boxes had been sold.
A Sydney court ordered Scherle to serve a six month’s prison followed by home detention and community service, while Clark was placed on a good behaviour bond.
The charges were the result of ongoing investigations involving the Australian Federal Police, Foxtel investigators and Media Protection, Multiscreen and Revenue Assurance company, Irdeto.
Foxtel’s CEO Richard Freudenstein said, “We welcome the strong message that this court decision sends to would-be criminals and those that decide to take part in these illegally run businesses. Piracy is theft, and it’s illegal. It not only undermines the business models of companies like Foxtel, but of every one of the creative businesses and people who work so hard to supply us with channels, programs, and services. Piracy damages the entire Australian creative and entertainment industry.”
A case continues for a third man, Haidar Majid Salam Al Baghdadi.
Meanwhile the Abbott government is tipped to clamp down on internet service providers in a move to thwart online piracy, potentially introducing a “three-strikes” rule.