A Cornwall man has been handed a suspended prison sentence, after pleading guilty to selling £400,000 worth of illegal streaming subscriptions that were specially configured for pirating live football.
The subscriptions allowed users to watch Premier League football matches “without the permission of, and without making any appropriate payment to, the relevant broadcasters and content owners” − in this particular case, Sky Sports and BT Sport.
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Steven Underwood appeared in court last month, where he admitted to two charges under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, and the Fraud Act 2006.
And just before Christmas, he appeared again at Truro Crown Court, where he was given a one-year prison sentence suspended for two years.
“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,” said Judge Robert Linford.
It isn’t clear if Mr Underwood had been falsely advertising the services he was selling as being legal, nor has the name of Mr Underwood’s operation been publicly revealed.
His home in Illogan, west Cornwall, was raided by police officers and Cornwall Council Trading Standards representatives on January 16, after an investigation by the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT).
“A number of devices including an iPhone, tower computer and laptop computer were seized [at Underwood’s home],” FACT announced a month ago. “These were forensically examined and compelling evidence of Underwood’s unlawful activity was recovered.”
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Commenting on Mr Underwood’s sentence, 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.”
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