Seller of illegal TV streaming services sentenced

Following a guilty plea of copyright and fraud charges earlier this year for selling subscriptions providing illegally obtained content, a man has been sentenced at Truro Crown Court. 

Steven Underwood (also known as Steven Isaac) has been sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, after he previously pleaded guilty in November 2019 to two charges under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 and the Fraud Act 2006. The court heard that he had sold around £400,000 worth of illegal streaming subscriptions that enabled users to view pay-TV without the permission of, and without making any appropriate payment to, the relevant broadcasters and content owners.

FACT initially detected Underwood’s activity which led to an address in Cornwall. On Wednesday 16 January 2019, officers from the Police Regional Organised Crime Unit, FACT and Cornwall Council Trading Standards executed an Entry Warrant at Underwood’s home and seized a number of devices including an iPhone, tower computer and laptop computer. These were forensically examined and compelling evidence of Underwood’s unlawful activity was recovered.

Underwood was handed down a sentence of 12 months for offences under the Fraud Act 2006 and a further 12 months for offences under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. These were both suspended for two years after mitigation on medical grounds.

Sentencing him, His Honour Judge Lindford noted, “You were engaged in highly sophisticated activity to illegally allow individuals access to material for which they would have to pay for live sports and events…this was most serious offending indeed”, and commended the investigation and the commitment of those involved in bringing this to conviction.

FACT CEO, Kieron Sharp, said:
“This result reinforces the message that selling access to content that is not licensed or owned by you is a serious crime. No matter what the device, selling illegitimate services is not a grey area, it is breaking the law.

At FACT we encourage consumers to use legitimate services that are safe to use, especially for families over the festive season.”

Paul Masters, Cornwall Council’s strategic director for neighbourhoods, added: “Stealing intellectual property or copyright is as serious as other more tangible thefts. Our Trading Standards officers will always seek to protect Cornwall’s consumers from being duped by copyright fraud.

“Only buy streaming services from a trusted source, and if in doubt contact our Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506 for reassurance.”

Follow Us

Related News

News

Police warn of the risks of illegal streaming as Premier League returns behind closed doors

The City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) and FACT, leaders in intellectual property protection, are warning sports fans to use legitimate sources to watch the return of the Premier League as football comes back to our screens.   Only last year, three individuals were jailed for 17 years for defrauding the Premier League by providing … Continued

News

Criminal conviction for seller of illegal devices that provided access to paid-for content

On 9 June 2020 at Bolton Crown Court, Mark Schofield was sentenced to 24 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years. He was also ordered to complete 240 hours of unpaid work. Investigations by FACT confirmed that Schofield was selling devices that provided access to paid-for content including sport and films via his Facebook page. FACT … Continued

News

Seller of illegal devices that bypassed paid-for TV content has been jailed

A man who sold illegal devices that bypassed paid-for TV content – costing legitimate service providers more than £2 million – has been jailed. On 1 June 2020 at Manchester Crown Court, Crown Square, Daniel Aimson  formerly of Ullswater Road, Astley, Leigh was sentenced to 12 months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to … Continued

News

Illegal film streaming links nearly treble during lockdown period

The COVID-19 crisis has changed the way we work, communicate, shop and spend our free time. With vast numbers of people around the world staying at home, life has driven us all online; enormously impacting businesses and customers in countless sectors. FACT has been protecting the rights, content and interests of the film, television and … Continued