A question was posted on DigitalSpy which asked:
“Have there ever been or are there any “Pirate” satellite TV transmissions?”
So I answered and I thought I would share my response here:
It is not always required to have a license to broadcast in your target country, usually only the country broadcast from (this can be used to avoid local broadcast laws for advertising). In my past I have seen rouge transmissions, but they have usually not been pirate TV but illicit communications. More common is illegal jamming of transmissions as a result of political differences between nations, but again this more affects telecommunications than broadcast TV.
While it is possible to broadcast without permission, a satellite operator would rather jam an illicit signal rather than permit it to profit from transmission time which is not paid for. The simplest way to jam a signal is to put up a carrier spike through the offending transmission to prevent reception. It is possible to geographically locate a rogue transmission, but the resources required to do so are great and the timescales required are unpleasant. Satellite owners do not allocate such resources lightly because it would cause a great deal of disruption to their infrastructure. Usually jamming a rogue signal is enough to discourage illicit transmissions, this can be done cheaply and effectively.