UK Jury: 4 1/2 years in jail for pirate TV supplier, if apprehended

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A Manchester area man was sentenced in absentia, following conviction by a jury for selling and advertising illicit streaming devices and services, according to FACT, the UK’s Federation Against Copyright Theft.

The Judge in the case said that “while difficult to calculate with accuracy, (revenue from the piracy operation) exceeded £350,000, and potential losses of £2M to organisations including SKY, BT, and Virgin Media”

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Evidence built and charges made

In June 2014, a test purchase was conducted, and it was found that the device was enabled to access hundreds of channels from Virgin’s cable subscription service, including Sky Sports and Sky Movies, without any payment being made.

Assisted by Manchester Police, FACT identified the supplier as Michael Hornung, residing in Cheshire and trading under the name ‘NoHatsNoTrainers’ via the online platform CS World.  He was arrested in February 2017 on fraud and other charges.  Despite having left the UK, he later was tried and found guilty on all charges in May 2022.

When contacted by Piracy Monitor, a FACT representative confirmed that he is still at-large.

Charges detailed

According to FACT, Hornung was convicted and sentenced for:

  • Supplying articles for use in fraud, contrary to section 7(1) of the Fraud Act 2006
  • Selling an unauthorised decoder, contrary to section 297A(I)(a) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988
  • Advertising unauthorised decoders for sale contrary to section 297A(I)(d) of the Copyright, Designs, and Patents Act 1

Read the FACT press release (June 17, 2022)

Why it matters

Upon sentencing, the Judge noted that the offense had affected a large number of victims including not only the rights holders, but also the legitimate subscribers of Pay TV services who effectively subsidise those who unlawfully access Pay TV.

The case involved a complex investigation involving the collation of a significant volume of evidence that was condensed for understanding by a lay jury. Overall, the case expended considerable resources over an extended period of time

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