Industry partners FACT and Sky have teamed up with the support of regional police services to successfully target almost 50 illegal IPTV service providers across the UK.
Each organisation identified several operators who have been providing illegal access to premium TV and movies including from Sky. The operators were then issued legal warnings delivered in person, by post, and by email.
The ‘cease-and-desist’ notices instruct those running the services to immediately stop their illegal streaming activity otherwise risk facing criminal prosecution. Addresses across the UK were visited in person, from London, Dorset, Cambridgeshire, West Midlands, North Midlands, West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and to one address in Scotland. While many more notices were emailed or posted.
Over a three-week period, FACT and Sky delivered 47 legal notices. This has led to the majority of the illegal services being taken down, and advertising removed.
The use of cease-and-desist measures has proven to be a highly effective means of disruption. Just last week, the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) arrested a 32-year-old man from Ipswich who had previously received a cease-and-desist notice from FACT for unlawfully selling IPTV subscriptions. A thorough investigation conducted by FACT revealed that this individual had persisted in offering an illegal streaming service to customers. This individual is now facing further investigation and possible criminal action.
This action follows several recent initiatives designed to tackle illegal streaming, including the granting of a new blocking order awarded to Sky and significant enforcement action across Ireland.
Kieron Sharp, CEO at FACT commented: “Illegal IPTV service providers are breaking the law and putting consumers at real risk of malware, data loss and identity theft”.
“Consumers who pay fo pirate services should also know that they are often funding serious organised crime groups. FACT and Sky remain committed to disrupting these criminal operations and protecting consumers from the many dangers of illegal streaming”.
Matt Hibbert, Director of Anti-Piracy UK and ROI, at Sky said, “We understand the power of working with our partners to tackle the issue of illegal streaming, and we’re grateful to FACT and law enforcement for their support.
“At Sky we are passionate about protecting our content while ensuring consumers can enjoy the content they love, free from risks that illegal streams can pose”.
A new consumer campaign, BeStreamWise.com has also launched across the UK and Ireland. The campaign was formed in partnership with key bodies across the sports, film, and TV industry and is designed to help viewers understand the personal risks of streaming illegally and identify safer options to enjoy their favourite content.
Streaming via illegal methods puts consumers at risk of being exposed to malware, fraud and data theft, with one in three consumers in the UK (32%) admitting that they, or someone they know, have been a victim of fraud, scams and identity theft as a result of illegal streaming*.
FACT work with Crimestoppers to make it easy to report illegal content online. Crimestoppers is an independent charity that allows anyone to report anonymously by calling 0800 555 111 or filling out an online form.