Advanced Television

Illegal TV streaming service convictions

April 29, 2024

By Colin Mann

Two men from Worcester in the UK’s West Midlands who operated a business selling illegal subscriptions to watch sports online have been sentenced at Worcester Crown Court.

The court sentenced Benjamin Yates and Lewis Finch to 20 months imprisonment suspended for 18 months and 250 hours of unpaid work.

Both men, who were trading under the name ‘Titan Streams’, pleaded guilty to illegally supplying Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) which allows access to services such as BT Sport (now TNT Sports) and Sky.

Yates and Finch, both from Worcester, were convicted of offences under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

The prosecution followed an investigation by Worcestershire County Council’s Trading Standards team with the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) and BT Sport.

Test purchases by FACT and BT led to the case being referred to Trading Standards and entry warrants being executed at both their addresses. An examination of IT equipment seized during the investigation confirmed that both men had been heavily involved in the provision of IPTV services with approximately 3,971 subscribers. Further investigations of their PayPal accounts showed that payments of over £320,000 (€374,000) had been received over three years.

“Trading Standards are committed to protecting the rights of legitimate businesses,” asserted Simon Wilkes Head of Worcestershire Regulatory Services. “This joint investigation has led to a successful outcome, which sends a clear message that we will seek out and prosecute those who are involved in this type of crime.”

“This is not a victimless crime; it damages the interests of those who own the intellectual property rights to the subscription TV services and can affect legitimate customers through higher subscription prices.”

“This court result underscores the value of our collaboration with Worcestershire County Council’s Trading Standards team and our broadcast partners,” added Kieron Sharp, CEO FACT. “The individuals behind this illicit streaming service made a considerable amount of money through their fraudulent activities and this outcome serves as a stern warning to those who sell subscriptions or devices that provide access to content without properly compensating the rightful owners. We will continue to use all available powers to work with law enforcement and our broadcast partner, TNT Sports, to combat illegal streaming services and the broader criminal activities they support.”

Categories: Articles, Business, Content, IPTV, OTT, Piracy, Policy, Regulation, Rights

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