Four Year Sentence for Illegal IPTV Box Supplier
A UK court has handed down custodial sentences to two men convicted of supplying IPTV boxes enabled to allow purchasers access to unauthorised content, without paying the appropriate rights holders. The prosecution was brought by the Premier League, in this case.
This is the first legal case involving a supplier of illegal IPTV (Internet Protocol TV) boxes and the sentences of four and two years (suspended), respectively, for the two convicted men – Mr Terry O’Reilly and Mr Will O’Leary, who mainly operated in the Nottingham area – shows that the Premier League aren’t going to sit idly by while folks watch their games without paying for an authorised subscription package; in this country that would mean Sky, BT or both. It’s questionable how much worth there is in going after the box suppliers, however, when their real issue is with whoever is supplying the illegitimate streams.
The Premier League brought a prosecution against the men after they were found to be supplying ‘dodgy boxes’ to pubs and members of the general public, that facilitated mass piracy, including the broadcasting of Premier League football on unauthorised foreign channels. The prosecution was supported by FACT, an organisation at the forefront of the fight against intellectual property crime in the UK, following an early investigation by PIPCU (Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit).
The case was heard at Nottingham Crown Court where O’Leary and O’Reilly were both convicted for Conspiracy to Defraud.
Premier League Director of Legal Services, Kevin Plumb, said: “Like other creative industries the Premier League’s model is predicated on the ability to market and sell rights and protect its intellectual property. It is because of this that clubs can invest in star players and managers, and world class stadiums – the very things fans enjoy about our competition.
“This case is particularly important as it is the first involving sellers of so-called IPTV devices which enable people to watch illegal content. The Courts have provided a clear message: this is against the law and selling systems which allow people to watch unauthorised Premier League broadcasts is a form of mass piracy and is sufficiently serious to warrant a custodial sentence.
“There can now be no doubt for consumers that these systems are illegal.”
FACT Director General, Kieron Sharp said: “As the first sentencing of IPTV boxes in England, today’s result should send a hard-hitting message to anyone involved in selling illegally modified set-top boxes. The sale and distribution of these boxes, which are loaded with infringing apps and add-ons allowing access to copyrighted content, is a criminal offence and the repercussions could result in years behind bars.
“We would like to thank the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) for their early support in the investigation and we will continue to work with the Premier League and our other members to ensure sports broadcasts are fully protected.”
Detective Chief Inspector Pete Ratcliffe of the City of London Police’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit said: “This conviction shows how important working with industry and other bodies is to modern day policing.
“Protecting our creative industries is vital to the UK economy and the millions of jobs that work within them and this case sends a clear message that this is crime that will be investigated and brought before the courts.”
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