Little story from today's Irish Daily Star some of you may find interesting/amusing. Firm vows decoder crackdown TV VIEWERS who use illegal equipment to tune into premium channels on the cheap are set to face a major crackdown. Cable firm UPC Ireland is thought to be losing millions of euro`because viewers are buying illegal decoder boxes and using them to watch UPC's 130-channel digital pay-TV package. UPC charges customers €32 per month for the channels — but unscrupulous viewers can get an illegal decoder for a one-off payment of €110 without paying a penny to UPC. Now the company is fighting back and warning customers not to be tempted to buy the illegal equipment. Offence: "Use of equipment such as Starview, The Box, Eurovox, Digivox, Dreambox or similar decryption devices is a criminal and civil offence and UPC reserves the right to prosecute offenders to the fullest extent of the law," the firm said. UPC is also making the lives of nonpaying viewers more difficult — by changing the encryption codes on their channels so the illegal boxes are no longer able to unscramble them. During the Premier League clash between Manchester United and Arsenal last Sunday, UPC changed the code for Sky Sports 1 twice, causing the black market boxes to lose the signal. The cable TV firm is also cracking down on the suppliers of the boxes, with a successful prosecution over a find by gardai of €70,000 worth of illegal equipment at a premises in Finglas, Dublin. However, no successful lawsuit has yet been brought against a person who used one of the illegal boxes at home. Illegal: The decoders are illegal under Irish and European law, breaching both broadcasting and copyright legislation. They are usually sold at dodgy-street markets or on the Internet for between €110 and €250 and work as long as UPC doesn't change the encryption codes on their channels. If they do, then the dodgy boxes are useless until the user finds out the new encryption code and programmes it in. Users on a number of Internet forums advise each other on how to use the boxes and post up new encryption codes whenever the codes are changed. SeIutiovt However, UPC spokesperson Anna-Maria Barry said the firm is planning to block out the boxes for good. "We will be working with our encryption solution providers to introduce another level of security to render these boxes permanently inoperative." she said.