A man has been jailed after being caught selling Android TV boxes that were designed to make it easy for users to stream Premier League matches illegally.
Jia Xiaofeng, the director of Singapore-based electronics retailer Synnex Trading, was sentenced to 12 weeks behind bars this week, after being reported by Neil Gane, the general manager of the Coalition Against Piracy.
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Xiaofeng has also been slapped with a SGD $5400 (~£3060) fine, though Synnex Trading has to cough up an additional SGD $160,800 (~£91,250).
“The boxes were found to have been loaded with apps providing unauthorised access to films, TV shows, video-on-demand and live sports including Premier League football,” the Premier League announced. “These ISDs were falsely advertised to the public as legal and containing legitimately sourced content.”
The Premier League, FACT and other piracy-fighting organisations have consistently claimed that many users of illegal streaming devices − often known as ‘Kodi boxes’ − aren’t aware that they’re illegal.
That claim has always triggered plenty of eye-rolling, but a survey published this week suggests that it isn’t to be scoffed at after all. Just 49% of respondents said they know that Kodi-style devices provide content illegally (via TorrentFreak).
The Premier League opened a new office in Singapore earlier this year, which is dedicated to clamping down on piracy. This incident is one of its highest profile breakthroughs so far.
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“This case shows there are serious consequences for sellers of illegal streaming devices and that the Premier League will prosecute those responsible for the piracy of our content. This sentencing shows that this is not a grey area, and that selling these devices is against the law,” said Kevin Plumb, the Premier League’s director of legal services.
“We have fantastic passionate fans in Singapore and we are protecting those who watch Premier League content in the right way. Those who don’t, leave themselves open to a number of risks including becoming victims of fraud or identity theft.
“We have a team based in our Singapore office committed to protecting our intellectual property rights and fighting piracy and we will continue to investigate and pursue all suppliers of illegal streaming services in the region.”