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Illegal streaming: Two jailed for supplying devices


Two suppliers of Kodi-type illegal devices that provided access to Sky and BT's Premier League coverage have been jailed for four and half years.

John Dodds and Jason Richards were jailed by Newcastle Crown Court after being found guilty of conspiracy to defraud.

The pair sold hundreds of devices that enabled their customers to view Premier League football via unauthorised access to Sky Sports, BT Sport and illegal foreign channels.

The court heard how they ripped off customers who were regularly left with devices that had their broadcast signal interrupted or didn’t work properly. Their criminal activity saw them fraudulently earn at least £1.5m through the sale of the illegal devices and other equipment. This will now be subject to confiscation proceedings.

Mr Dodds, who has a previous conviction for threatening a Sky employee, attempted to prevent evidence being discovered by hiding the keys to a car full of equipment and documentation, including a list of all his clients, several streets away from his home.

Mr Richards attempted to conceal evidence just before being arrested by destroying hard drives and hiding information in his deep freezer. This led to a conviction for attempting to pervert the course of justice in addition to his conspiracy to defraud offence.

The pair were arrested following an investigation instigated by the Premier League, working in partnership with FACT - the UK intellectual property protection organisation. 

Premier League Director of Legal Services, Kevin Plumb, said: 
“This is a hugely significant judgement as it provides further evidence that selling these devices is illegal and can result in a prison sentence. We have seen several reports from people who have purchased illicit streaming devices only to be left with no service when the seller is forced to cease trading because the law has caught up with them, or their broadcast signal has been interrupted by our enforcement measures. We hope this verdict gets the message out that selling or using these devices is simply not worth the risk. 
“The many things fans enjoy about the Premier League – the ability that clubs have to develop and acquire talented players, to build and improve stadiums, and to support communities and schools – is all predicated on being able to market, sell and protect rights. We are pleased the Courts have recognised that in this case.”

CEO of FACT, Kieron Sharp, said: 
“This result is an excellent example of how serious an issue illegal streaming is. TV boxes and sticks that allow consumers to illegally stream sports, such as Premier League matches, not only have a huge effect on the content owners and broadcasters but the thousands of people working tirelessly behind the scenes to put the sport on our screens. 
“This is no longer a grey area – selling devices like this or using one at home to watch content you normally would pay for is breaking the law. This sentencing should send out a very clear and strong message to anyone involved in the sale of these devices that it is very much illegal and that they risk spending time behind bars.”

The Premier League is currently engaged in a comprehensive copyright protection programme that has included obtaining a High Court Order that compels the UK’s Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block illegal streams of its content, and led to a seller of illicit streaming devices based in Nottingham being jailed for four years. The League’s activity in this area is not restricted to the UK and has included shutting down an illegal ISP in Spain and working with Thai authorities to bust a large-scale supply of illicit streaming devices across South East Asia.

The UK Government – via the Intellectual Property Office – has recently provided guidance stating that the use of illicit streaming devices is illegal: if your device offers you free access to pay TV or you are offered a version of a device that offers lots of free sports feeds, it's probably too good to be true.




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3 comments:

  1. Article mentions streaming, but nothing about Kodi, yet the image used is an empty Raspberry Pi case with the Kodi logo on it? _Some_ people might assume Kodi/RPi is involved based on this alone. Case in point, https://kodi.tv/article/having-issues-free-movies-tv-shows-sports-iptv-streams

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    1. Kodi is mentioned in the very first paragraph, and specifically named in the press releases from the law enforcement agencies involved in this case.

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