Suppliers and resellers of illegal sports streaming services have been targeted in a joint initiative by FACT and the Premier League.
Last month, FACT investigators and UK law enforcement agencies attended 16 premises across the UK. They served Cease and Desist notices to individuals they suspected of supplying illegal sports streaming content.
The initiative came ahead of the new Premier League season that began last week (August 16).
Kieron Sharp, FACT Chief Executive said: “This is just one of the tactics we deploy against people committing offences that affect sports rights holders and broadcasters. We have a programme of continuous activity targeting different elements of the global piracy landscape, with consideration given to the scale of the offending so that the most effective and proportionate response is deployed.
FACT has been working with the Government Agency Intelligence Network (GAIN) to disrupt organised crime groups. The suspects are all thought to be of low level, but the initiative was aimed at preventing them from undertaking further criminal activity and deterring others from getting involved.
National GAIN Coordinator Lesley Donovan said: “In this case, these Cease and Desist notices intend to highlight the real harm those trying to make a quick buck out of illegal streaming are inflicting. Their actions are feeding a wider illicit industry which not only denies the economy of millions both in copyright theft and undeclared income but poses a direct risk to our communities due to their lack of parental controls and fire safety. This type of activity is also often a cog in a larger criminal machine, often ultimately funding drugs, weapons and people trafficking.”
The action follows a series of successful prosecutions by FACT working with the Premier League. In March 2019 three sellers of illegal streaming devices from a pirate streaming organisation were given a combined total of 17 years imprisonment for defrauding the Premier League, some of the longest sentences for piracy-related crimes.