Three Operators Issued With a Jail Sentence Over Pirate Premier League Streaming
Due to illegal streaming of Premier League matches, three operators have been issued a jail sentence. The trio has been providing illegal access over the last decade, pirating Premier League games to over 1,000 pubs, homes and clubs across Wales and England.
The Crime and the Sentence
The trio who operated the scam provided pirate streaming to spectators in Wales and England for over a decade. They gave users access to pay-TV without permission of and without making payments to relevant content owners and broadcasters.
The Premier League issued a statement saying that they have earned more than £5 million through their illegal streaming activity. The one that operated the entire illegal organisation, the mastermind, was Steven King, who was charged by Warwick Crown Court over a four-week trial and has been issued with a jail sentence of 7 years and 4 months. Paul Rolston was slapped with a 6 year and 4 months jail sentence, while Daniel Malone will spend half the time in jail than King, with a sentence of 3 years and 3 months.
Premier League’s Director of Legal Services Kevin Plumb issued a statement saying that the jail sentences are an accurate reflection of the solemnity and gravity of the crime. He added that using these pirated services was unlawful and fans should have been aware that by entering into agreements with illegal businesses such as these three, they were also breaking the law. Additionally, this way fans risk identity thefts and risk becoming victims of fraud by handing over financial details and personal data to illegal businesses.
Most recently, the trio started engaging third-parties across Europe and the UK to create illegal streams which they sold on to their own customers. For this, they were sentenced for conspiracy to defraud. They actually interfered with broadcasters’ efforts to investigate the fraud, by using watermarking techniques and logo-blocking, which actually aggravated the length of their sentences. These three sentences are the longest ever issued for piracy-related crimes. The Judge described the entire operation as a dodgy, dishonest business.
The trio has managed to illegally operate for a course of more than 10 years. King operated under the names Digital Switchover Limited, Dreambox TV Limited (dreamboxtv.co.uk) and Dreambox.
The Fight Against Piracy Continues
The Premier League has worked alongside BT and Sky media companies to implement tougher measures which would fight illegal streaming channels and prioritise the value of broadcasting rights,
The Judge’s decision, as Plumb said, provides further evidence that the law always catches up with individuals and companies trying to breach copyright and defraud rights owners. The investment into cutting-edge tech, in combination to anti-piracy actions such as the one here and the landmark blocking injunction by the Premier League, show that it has never been more difficult for individuals involved in football piracy to operate in the UK.