Cease-and-desist notices instruct those running the services to immediately cease all illegal streaming activity otherwise risk facing the consequences, including criminal prosecution, said the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT). Between the end of February to mid-March, legal notices went to addresses in Mayo, Limerick, Meath, Offaly, Dublin, and Wexford. Some were delivered in person, others by mail.
Recipients are said to be providing illegal acess to Sky, the Premier League and other premium content. The action has begun to have an effect with a number of illegal streaming services already taken down, with more to follow. These legal notices form part of a broader targeted campaign in which more action in Ireland will follow to disrupt and shut down organised and sophisticated piracy networks.
This action comes as FACT continues to work with law enforcement to crack down on illegal streaming services in the UK, many of which also have customers in Ireland.
In January, FACT and police visited homes across the UK, serving notices to individuals to cease illegal streaming activities immediately and informing users of the associated risks, including criminal prosecution. And just last week, the City of London Police led a crackdown on illegal streaming networks, resulting in arrests in Scotland and London.
Enforcement Action Targets Illegal IPTV Service Providers Across Ireland. News release. March 13, 2023. FACT
Why it matters
“Illegal IPTV service providers are a significant problem in Ireland. This is criminal activity, and those involved are not concerned about the risks their streams pose to consumers,” said Kieron Sharp, CEO at FACT. “In research carried out last year by cyber security experts Webroot, it was found that of 50 illegal streaming sites analysed, every single one contained some form of malicious content – from sophisticated scams to extreme and explicit content. FACT and its partners are determined to disrupt these criminal operations and protect consumers.”
As well as being illegal, accessing content this way poses serious risks to consumers. Research carried out by Dynata in 2022 shows that almost half (49%) of respondents who illegally stream say they or someone they know has been a victim of scams, ID theft, fraud or data loss.