Piracy

Man Arrested in the UK for Running Pirate IPTV Platform

By Bill Toulas / July 29, 2021

A 56-year-old man was arrested by the West Mercia Police in the UK, over charges of operating an illegal IPTV service as well as for money laundering. The police department received the relevant identification details from FACT, a British anti-piracy organization that performs in-depth investigations which in cases like this one, unmask operators who could be thinking they’re well hidden. The officers who took part in the operation disrupted the service and disabled the platform as they seized all hardware components they’ve found on the location.

Source: West Mercia Police

Sergeant Ian Osborne, a member of the Cyber Crime Unit of the West Mercia department has made the following statement:

This operation is the unit's first arrest in relation to online streaming and sends out a strong message that we are homing in on those who knowingly commit or facilitate online copyright infringement. Not only is there an enormous loss to the entertainment industry with this particular operation but it is also unfair that millions of people work hard to afford their subscription-only TV services while others cheat the system.

From FACT’s side, the following statement was made by its CEO, Kieron Sharp:

Piracy is fraud and anyone motivated by the financial gain from doing this needs to know that this is a crime which will be taken seriously by Police. There is also a risk to users and subscribers of pirate services, who commit an offense themselves, of identity theft, fraud, malware, and viruses. Anyone who is considering turning to illegal content should consider whether it’s worth giving criminals access to their devices, personal information, and bank accounts.

This is a stark reminder aiming at subscribers of these IPTV services that giving money to the operators of pirate sites is illegal and can get you into serious trouble. As we have seen in the recent past, the Police in the UK are keen to send letters of warning to IPTV customers, so they cannot pretend that they didn’t know what they were doing was against the law.

As for the operator himself, he is facing trouble relevant to violations of Money Laundering (s327 Proceeds of Crime Act 2002) and encouraging or assisting in the commission of either way offense namely obtaining services dishonestly (s44 Serious Crime Act 2007 and s11 Fraud act 2006). If these violations are proven in court, the operator of the IPTV site will most likely receive a relatively short (2-5 years) imprisonment sentence.

The name of the operator, the domain of the platform, and the size of the operation in terms of revenues and number of subscribers haven’t been published by the law enforcement authorities at this time.



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