Internet pirates, beware. International efforts have been cracking down on illegal IPTV streaming services this year. A recent court ruling shows how serious measures are taken to root out and shut down piracy groups.
“The sentences handed down, which are the longest sentences ever issued for piracy-related crimes, vindicate the efforts made to bring these individuals to justice and reflect the severity and extent of the crimes,” said the Premier League’s lawyer Kevin Plumb.
The leaders of a content piracy group have been rooted out and sentenced to a combined 30 years in prison. The group was found to have made over £7 million in a scheme involving 50,000 or more subscribers.
The group under the names Flawless, Shared VPS, and Optimal, was providing a cheap way to watch Premier League football games using illegal IPTV. They also streamed global channels, films, and series.
As reported by The Guardian, five men have been sentenced. Mark Gould is one the presiding judge deemed to be the “driving force” behind this operation. He was sentenced to 11 years after being found guilty of conspiracy to defraud, money laundering, and contempt of court.
His accomplices also received stern sentences, though only about half the time Mark Gould did. Steven Gordon was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to defraud. He was given a sentence of 5 years and 9 months in prison.
Peter Jolley was also found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to defraud, in addition to one count of money laundering £500,000. He received a prison sentence of 5 years and two months.
After pleading guilty to 2 counts of conspiracy to defraud, Christopher Felvus was sentenced to 3 years and 11 months in prison.
The final member of the piracy group claimed to be an undercover informant working for law enforcement. William Brown pleaded not guilty but was found to have “hacked legitimate customers’ accounts to access and copy streams for them to take the blame if identified by authorities.” He was sentenced to 4 years and 9 months in prison.
“This prosecution is another concrete example of the clear links between piracy and wider criminality, a warning we repeatedly make,” said Plumb. “The Premier League’s substantial financial contribution to the entire football pyramid is made possible through the ability to sell our broadcast rights. We are pleased that through rulings such as this, the courts continue to show that they recognize the importance of safeguarding the Premier League’s rights.”