Three men who operated a pirate streaming organisation broadcasting Premier League games have been jailed for a total of 17 years for conspiracy to defraud.
Steven King, the mastermind of the operation, was sentenced to seven years and four months imprisonment, Paul Rolston received six years and four months, and Danilel Malone a sentence of three years and three months.
The three men had provided illegal access to Premier League games to over 1,000 pubs, clubs and homes in England and Wales and earned in excess of £5m in the process.
Acting under the names Dreambox, Dreambox TV Limited and Digital Switchover Limited, the defendents created illegal broadcast streams via third parties over the course of a decade.
Premier League Director of Legal Services Kevin Plumb said: “Today’s decision has provided further evidence that the law will catch up with companies and individuals that defraud rights owners and breach copyright. The custodial sentences issued here reflect the seriousness and the scale of the crimes.
“Using these services is unlawful and fans should be aware that when they do so they enter into agreements with illegal businesses. They also risk being victims of fraud or identity theft by handing over personal data and financial details.
“The Premier League’s investment into cutting edge technology, combined with wide-ranging anti-piracy actions such as the one here today and the continuing landmark blocking injunction, means that it has never been more difficult for football piracy to operate in the UK.”
FACT Director General Kieron Sharp said: “The result of this case demonstrates that the illegal streaming of, and illegal access to, Premier League football is a serious crime. This was a criminal enterprise whose only function was to make money from defrauding the Premier League and the legitimate broadcasters.
“For those people using services such as this, do not think that this is a grey area – it is not, it is breaking the law. Do not think it is a victimless crime – it is not, it puts thousands of ordinary peoples’ jobs at risk. Do not think that the internet provides anonymity – it does not.”