Grey/cross border marketing of official satellite decoders – Why is this a crime?

Grey/cross border marketing of official satellite decoders – Why is this a crime? cross-border piracy analysis – what is a “grey area?”

According to Collins dictionary, If you refer to something as a grey area, you mean that it is unclear, for example, because nobody is sure how to deal with it or who is responsible for it, or it falls between two separate categories of things. Just like the name implies, grey-marking of decoders occurs in such a way as to make it difficult to know if you are guilty of intellectual property theft or not. Admittedly, some perpetrators are aware that they are doing something illegal while many think it is normal and lawful.

cross-border piracy-what exactly does this entail?

In a layman’s language, cross-border piracy of official satellite decoders occurs when smartcards or decoders with smart cards are being sold outside the allowed area of coverage/the predefined territory.


Types of cross-border piracy with their examples

Below are some of the basic examples or forms of broadcast piracy through grey-marking or cross-border transportation.

  • If you buy an official satellite decoder from a neighbouring country when the same company is well represented in your own country, you are guilty of piracy. A good example is that of DStv Ghana and DStv Nigeria. We all know that multichoice Nigeria owns both DStv Ghana and DStv Nigeria. However, one is independent of the other. Failure of one to sell and meet target may lead to the folding up of the branch of that company in that country. To explain this further, if you leave Nigeria and go to Ghana to buy your DStv decoder, and you start using it in Nigeria and you usually subscribe through your contact in Ghana, you have taken the business away from DStv NG.

The implication on the company is negative. If the trend continues unchecked, DStv NG will seize to exist and their asset will turn into a liability. The fact that the money is going into the same pursue will not be enough to cushion the effects of the loss that would be incurred if the company folds up. The reverse can also be the case. This type of piracy is perpetrated with the products of the same company that are meant for different markets

  • The second type of cross-border piracy of satellite tv official decoders is less confusing. In this case, you buy decoder A from company A and go with it to utilise it at Country B where only Company B is licensed to own broadcast rights. For example, if you buy a bein sport from Qatar to be used in Nigeria, it is outright piracy and there is no ambiguity in this. Nigeria belongs to DStv, kwese, startimes and other while Qatar belongs to bein.
  • In the long run, you will lose your investment as a consumer and there is nothing you can do. I remember one of my friends who was using A BEIN decoder in Nigeria. He used to do the yearly subscription. Suddenly, a security update was rolled out by beIN and his subscription was suspended. He could not legally reactivate that very box and his heavy investment went down the drain. That is one of the reasons why beIN sports in Nigeria is now less popular.
  • Also, as the time goes by, it will become more and more difficult for you
  • Secondly, you as the consumer may be caught and you may be used as a bait to get the supplier.
  • Thirdly, you may lose most of the updates and benefits due to every eligible subscriber.


cross-border piracy the negative effect on satellite tv producers, the community and the government
  • To the provider, we have a huge loss of income when one branch is not selling enough
  • This may lead to firing of workers just to stay in business
  • The government may lose taxes from a declining company.


This post is contextual in all its entirety. Please be guided as regards its applicability. One can lead to loss of revenue are enormous and piracy is just part of it.

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