UK: FACT and Sky partner with police for nationwide campaign against illegal ‘IPTV’

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Several operators had been identified as providing illegal access to premium TV and movies including from Sky.    Those operators were then issued legal warnings delivered in person, by post, and by email.  Over a three-week period, FACT and Sky delivered 47 legal notices, which 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.  During October, the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) of the City of London Police 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 and now faces further investigation and possible criminal action.

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This action followed several recent initiatives designed to tackle illegal streaming, including the granting of a blocking order awarded to Sky earlier in 2023, and significant enforcement action across Ireland.

Nationwide action

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, Greater Manchester and to one address in Scotland. While many more notices were emailed or posted.

Further reading

Nationwide Operation Targets Illegal IPTV Operators.  Press release. October 16, 2023. FACT

Why it matters

Nearly half of consumers in the UK (49%) admitting that they, or someone they know, have been a victim of fraud, scams and identity theft as a result of illegal streaming, according to a 2022 research survey of 1,000 UK respondents by Dynata Research.

Illegal IPTV service providers are breaking the law and putting consumers at real risk of malware, data compromise, and identity theft.  Consumers who pay for pirate services should also know that they are often funding serious organised crime groups,” said FACT CEO Kieron Sharp.  “FACT and Sky remain committed to disrupting these criminal operations and protecting consumers from the many dangers of illegal streaming,” he added.

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