The UK’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has made an arrest of an individual suspected of selling devices that allow pubs to illegally broadcast Premier League football matches on a Saturday afternoon.
Detectives from the City of London Police unit arrested a man, 40 at his home in the East Midlands town of Newark, following a referral from the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) and the Premier League. He was taken to a local police station for questioning and was later released on bail.
The suspect is believed to be selling set-top boxes, each worth hundreds of pounds, which can broadcast Premier League matches that are not authorised to be shown in any UK commercial premises, infringing Premier League copyright.
Nobody is authorised to broadcast football matches in the UK that take place between 2:45pm and 5:15pm on a Saturday – the ‘closed period’ – in order to protect attendances and participation across all levels of football in this country.
DI Rob Stirling said the operation showed how PIPCU is working with multiple partners to tackle suspected intellectual property crime nationwide. “IP crime is costing the UK economy millions of pounds each year and our officers are committed to combating this fraudulent and criminal activity,” he asserted.
Kieron Sharp, FACT Director General, said the Federation works to protect the rights of its members and was pleased to be working again with PIPCU. “Organised criminals are using the Internet to defraud legitimate businesses and threaten the jobs of over 1.5 million people working in the UK’s creative industries and PIPCU is playing a crucial role in tackling this criminality.”
PIPCU launched in September to protect UK industries that produce legitimate, high quality, physical goods and online and digital content. The operationally independent unit, based at the City of London Police, is initially being funded by the Intellectual Property Office, which is part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.