MMDS Rebroadcasting in Spain
AUGUST 2008 ILLEGAL REBROADCASTERS CLOSED DOWN WITH GUARDIA CIVIL RAIDS
No company, even legally registered companies, have permission to rebroadcast BBC, ITV Channel4 or any of the Sky subscription channels in Spain. To rebroadcast these channels legally, the rebroadcasters must have expressed written permission from the channels involved. Due to the nature of TV contracts, it is very unlikely that this will ever happen. If you are unsure whether a company can legally rebroadcast channels, ask to see their permission and contract from the broadcaster allowing them to do so!
For example, from 2007, TVE have exclusive rights to broadcast the Premier League in Spain. No one else can broadcast the games in Spain without permission from TVE and the FA.
Under the Rome Convention, which is an EU Law regarding copyright and broadcast rights, broadcasters have the right to authorize or prohibit the re-broadcasting of their broadcasts. “Re-broadcasting” is defined under the Rome Convention as the simultaneous broadcasting by one broadcasting organization of the broadcast of another broadcast organization. Broadcasters also have the right to authorize or prohibit the fixation of their broadcasts; the reproduction of unauthorized original fixations of their broadcasts; the reproduction for purposes other than those authorized fixations of their broadcasts.
Basically it says you need authorisation from the “Broadcasting organisations” like BBC and ITV to rebroadcast their transmission in the EU.
Look at the screen shot of a message from Telmicro, even though they knew that it was illegal to retransmit Sky Sports channels, they still did!
Removing the Sky subscription channels from their service is a start in complying with copyright regulations, but these regulations apply to all channels, both free and subscription. Leaving BBC and ITV channels is still a violation.
How Rebroadcasting Works
These rebroadcast companies receive a signal from a big dish which is fed into a series of receivers, each programmed to a specific satellite channel – BBC, ITV, Sky etc. So if they want to show the three Sky Sports channels they will have three receivers, with three sky subscriptions. The signals from these receivers are then merged together and then rebroadcast on a specific frequency, which can be received by the individual “mesh” aerial and their receiver.
The Telmicro site consisted of one HUGE dish and aerial system.
The rebroadcasters only have access to certain frequencies, and so try to cram as many channels as they can on each frequency. This will mean that the quality of the pictures is not as clear as it would be if received direct from the satellite. Also, as the signal is passed from transmitter to transmitter there can be loss of the quality of signal – you could be in effect receiving a third or fourth generation signal, depending on your distance from the main transmitter.
It may be worth noting that many of these frequencies the rebroadcasters are using have only been allocated to them by their local town hall. They may not be allocated by the Department of Media and Communications in Madrid. It may be possible that, for example, mobile phone companies pay for the right to use the frequencies at a nationals level, and therefore these frequencies may well interfere with either the rebroadcasted TV system signals of the mobile phone signal. Obviously if one party complains then the winner and legal owner of that frequency will be the one that is registered in Madrid.
Guardia Civil Rebroadcast / Illegal TV Raids
August 2008, Guardia Civil officers swoop on Telmicro broadcasting offices on the Costa Blanca Spain, and shut down their TV rebroadcasting service. The Guardia Civil also seized the equipment, which they use rebroadcasting and redistribution of channels.
NEWSPAPER ARTICLES, STATEMENTS
These are various links from news sources regarding the situation
Round Town News: TV Rebroadcasters
Telemirco Statement issued on 21 August 2008.
1. Telmicro Levante have all the relevant licenses and legal permits in order to broadcast and operate
2. The closing of the broadcast has nothing to do with Telmicro Levante being prohibited to broadcast, however all the relevant technical material is being looked at.
3. Telmicro Levante promises all its clients to restart broadcast and business as soon as possible.
4. Telmicro Levante is aware of the fact that these proceedings take time, and asks its customers for their patience to allow for the investigation to finalise.
5. We would also like to reassure that obviously no customers will be charged and no bills will be sent during this time and until further notice.
6. Since all the Court proceedings have been declared secret, it is not allowed to obtain any detailed information, and it is against the law for anyone to communicate any information regarding the ongoing investigation.
7. Telmicro Levante expresses our support to the Courts and Justice system of Spain, and our firm belief in that the matters will eventually be solved so that our customers can again enjoy a very best quality TV service.
8. These unfortunate events concern all the English speaking customers and rebroadcasters in the area, and Telmicro Levante will do its utmost to continue to inform of the situation with maximum transparency.
9. We know that there are other companies within this sector offering their services and we strongly recommend that you seek to see whether these companies have all the legal requirements in place in order to broadcast (ie. Boletin Oficial del Estado, that is Official Bulletin from the state).
10. Telmicro Levante would also take this opportunity to thank the local English media for their help and support on this matter.
Costa Blanca News Article – 22 August 2008
Guardia TV probe continues By Dave Jones and Nuria Pérez
GUARDIA Civil revealed this week that the investigation into English TV rebroadcaster Telmicro Levante SL is still ongoing. A force spokesman told CB News that following last Tuesday’s swoop on company offices in San Luis and Algorfa the operation remained under ‘secreto de actuación’. “The operation is still open and being kept secret,” he said.“We cannot give any details on who has been arrested or how many because this could give clues to those under investigation.” He said that clients of the company who felt they had been conned could make an official complaint (denuncia) to court number one in Torrevieja courthouse.“It is the judge in court number one who asked the Guardia Civil to carry out the. investigation,” he added. A security services source has told CB News that Telmicro Levante SL is being investigated for pirating television signals ‘as clients paid much less than they would have to any cable company for receiving such a wide range of channels’.
CB News has also learned that representatives of several major providers of English TV systems have met to discuss their situation. At the meeting they decided to pull all Sky channels from their systems. This week a member of staff at Superbeam TV said that ‘they had been told to take their Sky signal off’ and that it would not be coming back. However she said they were still offering a range of other English channels. A spokesman for Torresat SL said they would not make any statements because the matter was sub-judice. The company is telling subscribers they will not be broadcasting Sky channels, at least until the current legal situation is resolved, but they will continue to provide the best available channels with the licences they possess. All Telmicro Levante SL channels went off on Tuesday last week and clients who paid around 600 euros for installation along with an annual 180-euro subscription fee have been left without a service. The company has since issued a statement promising ‘all its clients to be operational as soon as possible and ensuring the very best quality’.
However the company’s offices were still closed yesterday (Thursday) and business owners in San Luis reported that ‘many angry people’ who had lost their TV signals were waiting to speak to staff about the situation. CB News has received an avalanche of phone calls and complaints from clients.
Many have stated that they feel conned after being sold a package including Sky channels and have now ended up with no service at all.
Neighbourhood Watch warned this week that following the loss of Telemicro TV transmissions householders could be targeted by fake engineers cold calling. “Do not let anyone into your home unless you have already arranged for an appointment,” the spokesman said.
I would also like to remind people that there are bound to be people passing themselves off as installers to try and earn a “quick buck” from the many people who are getting confused by this situation. Do not go for any company that is cold calling. Contact a company that has been advertising in the local papers for a while, get recommendations from a few people, not just bloke in a pub, check the company uses a proper email address (theircompanyname.com) and not an untraceable HOTMAIL or GMAIL account, and has a proper website (not a free hosted website like freewebs or weebly) and make sure that the company has a landline as this will prove that they are in the area and can be contactable and is less likely to “do a runner”
I found this on the Coastrider letters page….
“I know you are not responsible for the behaviour of the people who advertise in your newspaper, but would like to warn you and any of your readers who are thinking of installing British TV channels, about a man who advertises with only a mobile phone number as contact details. He offers 20, 30 or even 42 channels with just one payment and full warranty and aftersales service.
He came and installed the dish on the last Friday in June this year, and on the Saturday I could no longer see the BBC or ITV, only a few “filler” channels like UK Gold or Sky News. I called and he said the system was down but would be back within 24 hours. Over the next few days the only way I could get to speak to him was if I used a different mobile to call – otherwise I only got the answer machine.
I knew I’d been stupid paying out with no proper receipt, no address, no land line number and decided to put up with the “filler” channels till I could afford to go to a more reputable, more honest dealer. Unfortunately last week even these disappeared as the digibox gave up the ghost. As a couple of weeks had gone by I decided to try his number again and this time he told me that “the gospel truth” was that he had sold the business and would no longer accept responsibility for any problems arising – had he ever?
I know I’ve been ripped off and, sadly, by a fellow-brit so I urge anyone thinking of getting any kind of service to make sure the supplier has an address you can visit or at least a land line you can trace.
Get a look at the receipt before you pay up so that at least you have something to take to the consumers’ office if you have a complaint – as he so neatly put it – you can’t touch me here – I’m British.
Maybe so, but if word of mouth works he’ll get a lot less victims to con if I have anything to do with it.”
Dismantled a network of piracy of TV channels that has defrauded 500 million euros
VOTE THIS NOTICE
The 14 detainees have defrauded more than 500 million and had over 60,000 customers, who paid up to 22 euros per month.
EUROPA PRESS The Civil Guard has dismantled an international network dedicated to deliver private television channels, without the rights to do so, customers of British origin residing in Alicante, Murcia and Almeria. The operation has resulted in 14 detainees who allegedly defrauded more than 500 million euros for the TV platforms and Public Finance.
The organization, comprised of eight Spaniards, three British, one Belarussian, a Romanian and a Russian, captured the British-channel signal and broadcast in the Levantine coast for clients from UK, without paying the corresponding rights and benefits without declaring.
According to investigators, fraudsters have three companies with legal cover, through which operating covertly. Reported a much smaller number of subscribers to those who actually had – 60,000 people – and then illegally distribute the signal in Spanish territory.
The operation, called ‘Scimitar’, was launched following a complaint filed by a legal representative of Sogecable, after detecting that some of Britain’s emissions in Alicante whose contents included ownership of TV rights in Spain correspond to the digital platform.
Then, the investigation revealed that the organization had a house located in an industrial estate in the municipality of Algorfa Alicante, which housed powerful satellite dishes and decoders, hired in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
These technical means allowing capture the signal of several British television channels via satellite. Thus, the suspects returned to decode and encode channels using a system called Irdeto, and then distribute it to their customers across the coast from Benidorm to the Andalusian village of Vera, through a network of transmitters and repeaters themselves.
The agents have conducted 22 searches, which have seized computers, technical equipment for the reception and broadcast television decoders, mixers and cash worth over five million euros.
MORE THAN 60,000 CUSTOMERS
The plot had more than 60,000 customers, mostly members of the British community established in the Levantine coast, which paid 590 euros per installation costs, plus monthly premiums of between 18 and 22 euros, or annual fees of between 200 and 220 euros, depending on the channels hired.
The installation in the homes of customers consisted of an antenna-specific emission frequencies used and a decoder that only worked appliance with a card with numbers unique to each customer, which made it possible to cut the signal in case of nonpayment.
Some TV channels had given authorization to provide the signal to a limited number of customers, gaining the rights concerned, but the network breached this commitment and that the actual number of customers was much higher than actually declared by the organization.
Similarly, to defraud the Treasury, as reported profits for only about 17,000 customers. The investigations have been carried out by the Team of the Judicial Police of the Guardia Civil of Torrevieja (Alicante)