36 year-old Peter Dilworth from Wirral, Merseyside, operated a service offering illegal access to sports and entertainment content, has received an 8-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.
Dilworth’s sentencing follows the recent sentencing of Michael Hornung, formerly of Manchester who received a 4 year and six months prison sentence and a Confiscation Order of £258,000 for selling and advertising unauthorized decoders that were enabled to access unauthorised channels from Virgin’s cable subscription service, including Sky Sports and BT Sport.
Charges against Dilworth included enabling or facilitating the circumvention of effective technological measures, according to Section 296ZB (2) (a) of the UK’s Copyright, Designs, and Patents Act 1988, and the possession of criminal property, according to Section 329 (1) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
Dilworth must also complete 120 hours of unpaid work and 6 months of drug rehabilitation activities, and 25 days of rehabilitation activities.
Collaboration is key
The Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) worked with Merseyside Police to identify Dilworth as the operator of the service called Marvel Stream UK, and in March, Merseyside Police arrested and interviewed him and searched his premises.
FACT initially commenced their investigation into the individual in January last year after receiving intelligence from the Premier League which indicated that Marvel Stream UK provided access to Premier League matches and Sky Sports and BT Sport broadcasts.
Read the original FACT press release, UK Man Who Ran an Operation Offering Illegal Access to Premier League Football Has Received a Suspended 8-Month Prison Sentence
Why it matters
“Illegal streaming is far from a victimless crime, and as well as the impact it has on the businesses and content creators, essentially means that legitimate subscribers pay for those who illegally access such services,” said Merseyside Police Detective Constable Gareth Jones. “We will use all available powers and continue to work with FACT to identify and put anyone else who sees intellectual property theft as a criminal opportunity before the courts.”
“The vast majority of our fans watch Premier League action via authorised sources, said Kevin Plumb, General Counsel for the Premier League. “But those who don’t must be aware this is not only an illegal activity that can lead to custodial sentences but also one that leaves them at risk of becoming victims of hacking, viruses, and fraud,” he said.