There’s a fresh warning today for anyone who streams illegally via Kodi-style set-top boxes.
These devices have grown in popularity in recent years and often come fully-loaded with add-ons that allow users to access a swathe of premium content, such as sports and movies, without paying for a subscription.
It’s worth remembering that Kodi itself is totally legal but the TV player’s open platform makes it easily adapted for unlawful activities.
With so many people switching to this type of content it will come as no surprise to hear that the authorities and content providers are paying close attention to illegal streaming and illicit devices.
Two sellers of these boxes were recently jailed and now another sentence has just been handed out.
The owner and operator of a major pirate streaming service, and mass supplier of illicit streaming devices that provided illegal access to Premier League football, has been jailed for five years and three months.
Mr John Haggerty, the owner of Evolution Trading, appeared in Newcastle Crown Court for sentencing after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud and dishonestly obtaining services for another, contrary to the Fraud Act.
His conviction further underlines the fact that supplying these devices and other pirate services is illegal.
The case is also the first example of the Courts confirming what the UK Government has already made clear – that using the devices themselves is illegal, with the Judge expressly warning that Mr Haggerty put all his thousands of customers at risk of prosecution.
Evolution Trading, run by Mr Haggerty and his wife Mary Gilfillan who was also convicted of fraud offences in this case and given a two-year suspended sentence, sold more than 8,000 illegal devices that were loaded with add-ons to enable publicans and consumers to view illegal streams of Premier League football.
Evolution also created and sold access to its own illegal streaming service – infusum.tv – to thousands of customers.
Between March 2013 and July 2015, the operators of Evolution generated more than £750,000 through their illegal activity.
Speaking about the conviction Premier League Director of Legal Services, Kevin Plumb, said: “This case demonstrates how seriously the Courts are dealing with criminals involved in the supply of illicit streaming devices and services that provide illegal access to Premier League football and other popular content.
“It also serves as a reminder to people that they take huge risks by handing over bank details and personal data to rogue operators like Evolution and infusum.tv.”
And Kieron Sharp, CEO of FACT, warned: “This sentencing is another step forward in the right direction to tackling the issue of illegal streaming.
“We will continue to work with The Premier League, Industry and Law Enforcement Agencies across the UK to clampdown on the sale of illicit streaming devices as they pose a real threat to the creative industries, the UK economy and the livelihoods of the 1.9 million people working behind the scenes of our favourite sport, TV and film.
“The public should be aware that selling devices or subscriptions that allow access to premium content you normally pay for is illegal.
“Similarly using one of these methods to stream premium TV, sports and films for which you should have an official subscription is also breaking the law.”