In a court case regarding the illegal streaming of pay-TV channels from Sky Deutschland over the internet, three of the four defendants have been sentenced to between eight months and two years in prison for computer fraud.
The 4th youth chamber of the regional court in Lüneburg suspended the sentences in its decision on February 5, 2019, according to a report by German news agency dpa. One of the accused young men between the ages of 22 and 26 received a warning.
They largely admitted the accusations. According to the state prosecutor, they operated an illegal streaming service between October 2011 and February 2016 on web portal iStreams.to, which they had set up themselves, offering Sky Deutschland’s channels at lower rates than a regular subscription. Around 7,400 internet users signed up for the service, booking a total of more than 20,000 streaming packages, according to the prosecution.
As part of a perpetrator-victim settlement, the young men agreed with Sky Deutschland on compensation payments totalling €150,000. The pay-TV broadcaster had estimated the damage caused by lost subscription income at more than €3.1 million before the trial began.
According to the state prosecutor, the defendants are said to have collected around €250,000 with their illegal streaming operation, but the court chamber assumed a lower amount in the end.
The judges’ decision to issue suspended sentences was mainly based on the age and the confessions of the defendants. The youngest was 15 when the offences began. However, the presiding judge Axel Knaack made a clear statement in the declaration of the verdict: “This has nothing to do with kid’s pranks any more. This is a very serious crime.”