While the Football World Cup stimulates illegal IPTV platforms, searches and other sting operations continue, particularly in Europe. In recent weeks, it is above all the Italian police who have made headlines with a nationwide operation against a pirate IPTV network serving 900,000 subscribers.
But just over 2,000km to the west, British police are also going on the offensive, again against a massive pirate IPTV network. The South Yorkshire police and a specialized organized crime unit arrested a 43-year-old individual in connection with the network. The operation follows a complaint from the distributor Sky – particularly aggrieved in this period of the World Cup.
Knockout operation against a British pirate IPTV service
The suspect’s exact involvement in the operation remains unknown for the time being, but he could face particularly heavy charges. The law on Copyright, Designs and Patents UK already foresees heavy fines. But the prosecution can also cite other crimes and misdemeanors related to fraud and the illegal redistribution of protected content.
The police specify that at least the defendant will be prosecuted for money laundering, aggravated by concealment of criminal property. As well as under the Serious Crime Act. Further arrests and searches could take place in connection with the case – until the entire network, which is not named by the authorities, comes down.
For now, British and foreign customers of these pirate IPTV sites do not have to worry too much, unlike Italian Internet users who are starting to receive fines. Heavy penalties are provided by law, with up to 10 years in prison and fines with no upper limit.
But in reality, Internet users are rarely prosecuted, even in the case of more easily detected cybercrimes such as p2p downloading. The fact is that these kinds of legal actions remain risky in terms of image – especially in the event that record sentences are handed down against simple individuals who were only using such platforms.
The authorities therefore content themselves with posting a warning on the sites seized, a warning whose main objective is to instil doubt and encourage visitors to use legal alternatives as a priority. However, the example of Italy, which is starting to send fines to users of seized IPTV sites, suggests that the impunity of users of pirate sites will not last forever.