Illegal sports streaming services targeted
July 22, 2022
By Colin Mann
Investigators from intellectual property protection organisation FACT and police officers from West Midlands and Warwickshire Police have visited addresses across the West Midlands to serve Cease and Desist notices to individuals suspected of supplying illegal sports streaming services.
The initiative is aimed at preventing the illegal supply of IPTV streams, with investigators visiting homes in Alcester, Solihull, and Birmingham to serve notices requesting the individuals cease any illegal activity with immediate effect.
FACT works with the Government Agency Intelligence Network (GAIN) to gather intelligence on and disrupt organised crime groups (OCGs) associated with this illegal activity. This latest action targeted individuals who were promoting unauthorised access to premium television content, which affects broadcasters and rights owners in the UK and worldwide, causing financial harm to the industry and the economy. Whilst all the individuals visited were operating at a relatively low level, the objective was to prevent them from undertaking further criminal activity, and to deter others from getting involved.
The effective partnership between law enforcement agencies, rights holders, and the private sector allowed for this co-ordinated action, with further actions of a similar nature planned to take place throughout 2022.
“We employ a range of tactics to prevent the provision of illegal streaming,” advises Kieron Sharp, CEO of FACT. “Our continuous activity targets different elements of the global piracy landscape, with consideration given to the scale of the offending to ensure effective and proportionate action is taken.”
“By taking these measures we are sending a clear message. Piracy is a crime, and it is taken seriously by the police. Non-compliance with the notices could lead to further law enforcement action. I would like to thank the GAIN and all the police units for their assistance in this initiative and look forward to further collaboration.”
A Government Agency Intelligence Network (GAIN) spokesperson said: “By working in partnership, sharing intelligence lawfully and efficiently, the GAIN aims to ensure that organisations such as FACT, along with law enforcement agencies will help reduce the risk, threat, and harm from serious and organised crime, in the most cost-effective way.”
“This executive action is an example of joint working and shows partner and police dedication to disrupting and dismantling criminal enterprises, which is not your typical drugs and firearms but also high-level fraud that impacts our economy.”
This initiative is the latest in a series of actions to crack down on illegal streaming and those profiting from it.
In June 2022, Michael Hornung, formerly of Tameside, Manchester, was sentenced to four and a half years in prison for selling illegal streams of premium television channels, including Sky and BT Sport. following a Greater Manchester Police investigation in partnership with FACT.