Teesside
09 March 2017
Reporter: Barney Dixon

IPTV seller receives £250,000 fine


Malcolm Mayes has been sentenced to a 10 months in prison, suspended for one year, and fined £250,000 after admitting to selling modified IPTV boxes.

The Teesside Crown Court handed down the sentence and the fine on 6 March.

IPTV boxes allow users to watch TV and movies via the internet, but they can be modified to access illegally acquired content.

Mayes was found to have been selling the modified IPTV boxes, in breach of the the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act, to pubs and clubs around the UK for £1,000 each, allowing them broadcast live sports for free.

He marketed the devices as 100 percent legal through adverts in a national magazine.

Ian Harrison, trading standards and licensing manager for Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “The cost of this case has been significant to Mayes.”

“In pleading guilty, he has accepted that it is illegal to sell a device that allows the free viewing of pay-to-view television. This is common sense and should be obvious to anyone.”

He added: “Mayes should not be seen as a Robin Hood-type character. In selling these devices he wasn’t stealing from the rich to help the poor. He was stealing to make himself richer.”

Kieron Sharp, director general of the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), which referred the case to investigators, commented: “Today’s sentencing sends out a strong message to anyone involved in the sale of illegal IPTV boxes that crime certainly does not pay.”

“FACT will continue to work with our members, Trading Standards and police across the country to combat the sale of these illegal devices, which are starving our creative industries and the UK Economy.”

IPTV boxes are increasing in popularity in the UK. According to software company Irdeto, 11 percent of consumers who commit piracy use them to access illegal content.

The highest percentage of UK consumers using the set-top boxes were in the 35 to 44 and 55+ age groups at 18 percent each. The Premier League has recently been granted a court order that will result in the blocking of unauthorised Premier League streams on Kodi set-top boxes.

The order allows the Premier League to “disrupt and prevent the illegal streaming of matches via IPTV, so called Kodi, boxes”, according to a Premier League spokesperson.

“This will enable us to target the suppliers of illegal streams to IPTV boxes, and the internet, in a proportionate and precise manner.”

“[The Premier League will] continue working with ISPs, government and other sports content producers to protect consumers from illegitimate services that offer no recourse when services are removed, provide no parental controls and, in many instances, are provided by individuals involved in other criminal activity.”

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