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AEPOC expects E.U. Commission report on 1998 Conditional Access Directive to be issued soon

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„h AEPOC Board of Directors anticipates upcoming report to show the way towards more effective protection of Pay-TV and encrypted services

Munich, March 31st 2003 - At the quarterly Board of Directors Meeting of AEPOC held in Munich, March 21th 2003, leading European players in digital television and services agreed that the upcoming report by the European Commission on the Conditional Access Directive will play a crucial role in the future fight against the pirating of Pay-TV and encrypted services in Europe. AEPOC (European Association for the Protection of Encrypted Works and Services) represents 28 service providers and vendors. AEPOC expects the report to be issued during April 2003.

The E.U. directive 98/84 on the legal protection of conditional access services entered into force 1998 and had to be implemented by Member States by 2000. While some Member States still have not fulfilled the requirements of the directive, today¡¦s reality has fundamentally overtaken its provisions. New forms of piracy have evolved and new illegal business models have developed as a result of technological developments.

AEPOC expects the upcoming report to mark the next step in the fight against such piracy and to propose changes to the Conditional Access Directive to adapt it to the challenges brought about by the technological developments, and in particular the Internet. The Internet is a popular platform for pirates to distribute illegal access codes and updates to illegal decoding software. In addition, the Internet is an emerging business platform for pay-per-view services, such as video on demand and personalised information services, as well as an important technical platform for corporate intra- and extranets.

Also, AEPOC is committed to, the harmonisation of directives and laws pertaining to piracy within the E.U. and the introduction of minimum thresholds for sanctions for the personal use and possession of illegal decoding devices. The members of AEPOC regard personal usage as one of the core problems of piracy of Pay-TV and encrypted works. Today, many Member States do not provide for any punishment of the personal usage of illicit devices.

Said Jean Grenier, President of AEPOC, "Piracy threatens the media industry by reducing the achievable return on investments in content, transmission systems and hardware. Decreasing investments in turn limit technical research, implementation of cultural creativity and economic opportunities of the media business as a whole. An effective legal framework valid for all present and future E.U. Member States is a key factor for the development of the media industry."

The AEPOC Board of Directors welcomed a representative of the Turkish Pay-TV platform Digiturk to their meeting in Munich. This confirms the ever increasing interest in the activities of AEPOC and its increasing geographical sphere of influence.

The next AEPOC meeting will take place in Portugal during the month of June 2003.

AEPOC (www.aepoc.org) is the "Association Européenne pour la Protection des Oeuvres et Services Cryptés" or the "European Association for the Protection of Encrypted Works and Services". AEPOC started its activities in 1995. Its current membership consists of 28 leading digital television and telecommunication companies including TV channels, conditional access providers, providers of transmission infrastructures and manufacturers of related hardware.

AEPOC¡¦s goal is to eliminate the pirating of encrypted works and services and to encourage the development of the appropriate legal, operational and technological frameworks to increase the security and safeguarding of conditional access systems for Pay-TV, TV-based and IP services.

The AEPOC members are: BetaResearch, BskyB, Canal+, Canal+ Polska, Canal+ Technologies, Conax, Eutelsat, Irdeto Access, Motorola, Nagravision, NDS, Nokia, NTV-Plus, Pace, Philips Digital Networks, Premiere, Rai, Sagem, SCM Microsystems, Showtime Arabia, Société Européenne des Satellites, Sogecable, Stream, Tele+, Thomson, TPS, United Pan-Europe Communications (UPC) and Viacess - France Telecom.

Press Contacts
Jörg Rücker
m project Market Relations GmbH
Altkönigstr. 4
D- 61462 Königstein / Germany
Tel. +49 - 6174 - 92 23-20
Fax +49 - 6174 - 92 23-92

Davide Rossi
Secretary General AEPOC
165, avenue Louise
B- 1050 Bruxelles / Belgium

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