The Premier League, UK law enforcement agencies and the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) have revealed the details of their latest efforts to cut down on piracy.
In July, ahead of the start of the new football season, police and FACT investigators knocked on the doors of 16 premises across the UK, and served up Cease and Desist notices to “individuals suspected of supplying illegal sports streaming content”. Said individuals were described as “operating at a relatively low level”.
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“These defendants were either selling illicit set top boxes facilitating unauthorised access to premium content, selling IPTV subscriptions, selling TV streams, or reselling IPTV subscriptions from larger suppliers via social media, online auction sites (i.e. eBay) or their own websites,” FACT told Trusted Reviews.
“The initiative was aimed at preventing them from undertaking further criminal activity and deterring others from getting involved,” said FACT, which added that further actions of a similar nature are planned.
“The message is clear. If you are involved in any way in providing illegal streaming services, on any scale, you are not invisible or immune from action from FACT, rights owners and law enforcement,” said Kieron Sharp, the chief executive of FACT.
The efforts brought together FACT, the Premier League, Government Agency Intelligence Network (GAIN) and Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU), and FACT says that “the intelligence has been shared amongst a number of agencies and public bodies”, including HMRC and the Intellectual Property Office.
“FACT and the Premier League will continue to monitor any ongoing offending and will escalate enforcement activity for persistent offenders,” the organisation added.
In July the Premier League revealed to Trusted Reviews that it is getting better at blocking illegal streams of matches.
Its so-called ‘Super Block’, which has reportedly been renewed to cover the 2019/20 season, enabled the Premier League to block or disrupt more than 200,000 illegal live streams of matches during the 2018/19 season.
That’s more than the organisation managed to block over the course of the 2017/18 season, when it fell short of the 200,000 mark.
The ongoing battle between pirates and broadcasters, law enforcement, and organisations like the Premier League is unlikely to die down anytime soon.
One of the biggest frustrations for UK-based fans of the Premier League is that it’s growing increasingly expensive to tune into. In order to watch as many Premier League games as you can this season, you need to pay for access to Sky Sports, BT Sport and Amazon Prime Video.
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Even then, you won’t be allowed to tune into any Premier League games that kick off at 3pm on a Saturday, due to the controversial blackout.
However, rules are rules, and it’s illegal to pirate a football match. There’s always Match of the Day.