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Dish dealers sentenced

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OTTAWA - The Canadian TV industry is applauding a recent court ruling which called for fines and jail time for illegal satellite equipment dealers.

The Coalition Against Satellite Signal Theft (CASST), a consortium of industry groups and companies "applauds a recent sentencing of two dealers in illegal satellite equipment. Delivered on July 8th by a Quebec judge, the sentence for Joshua and Hanan Lis includes an order for each of them to pay a fine of $25,000 and serve 60 days in jail, beginning August 9, 2004, pending an outstanding appeal," says a CASST release today.

"We are pleased with the judge's precedent-setting sentencing for these two dealers who have been running an illegitimate business trafficking in illegal satellite equipment used to steal TV signals," said Bell ExpressVu's Chris Frank, co-director, CASST.

The scheme run by the Lis brothers was one of the most significant operations dealing in illegal satellite equipment in Canada with more than $500,000 in illegitimate inventory and equipment with a potential retail sales value of more than $1 million.

"The Canadian broadcasting industry is encouraged by the increasing efforts of law enforcement agencies to prosecute those dealing in illegal satellite equipment," said Glenn O'Farrell, president and CEO of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters. "We applaud the stiffer punishments imposed by the judicial system against these illegal dealers and will again be calling on government to increase the penalties under the Radiocommunication Act."

Television signal theft diverts funds away from tens of thousands of Canadian writers, actors, directors and producers employed in Canada's TV broadcasting industry, as well as our domestic broadcasters and distributors, says the release. It is estimated that as many as 750,000 Canadian households may be receiving satellite television illegally, costing the Canadian broadcasting system about $400 million each year.

CASST is made up of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, Canadian Cable Television Association, Canadian Film and Television Production Association, Canadian Television Fund, Canadian Motion Picture Distribution Association and their members. It also includes A&E; Television Networks, Bell ExpressVu, CBC/Radio-Canada, Canadian Motion Pictures Distributors Association - Anti-Piracy Operations, Canadian Retransmission Collective, Directors Guild of Canada, DIRECTV, North American Broadcasters Association, Society of Composers, Authors, Music Publishers of Canada, Star Choice and Vid�otron lt�e.
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