On Thursday, 4 February, the Saeima adopted in the final reading amendments to the Protected Services Law to significantly curtail the distribution of illegal Russian satellites and, subsequently, decrease the number of illegal television distributors.
The aim of the Law was clarified, stating that it should guard protected service providers against unauthorised commercial, as well as personal use of their services. Previously, the Law only stipulated protection of protected service providers against unauthorised commercial use.
Personal use is understood as illegal use of the system by natural persons, including households, with non-profit objective, whereas commercial use is understood as illegal use of the system to raise income, including profit. The authors of the Draft Law note that, according to the data, in 2018, illegal television broadcasting provider services were used by approximately 62,000 households.
According to the explanatory note, there is currently no fine envisaged for private use of illegal systems; however, if the prevalence of illegal use does not decrease in response to these amendments, natural persons may also face administrative sanctions. As stated in the explanatory note, the association “For Legal Content!” is to run self-funded public awareness campaigns aimed at decreasing the number of households with illegal satellite connection by 6000 and the number of households condoning pirated television by 4400 households.
The amendments also clarify and supplement restrictions to protected services.
Saeima Press Service