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Two men who sold illegal streaming devices were jailed yesterday for four-and-a-half years after being found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the English Premier League.
John Dodds and Jason Richards had sold hundreds of Kodi-type illegal devices in the UK, enabling their customers to view Premier League football matches through unauthorised access to Sky Sports and BT Sport.
According to a press release from the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), a body representing IP owners in the UK, the two sellers earned at least £1.5 million ($2.1 million) through the sale of the devices and other equipment.
Dodds and Richards were arrested following an investigation initiated by the Premier League and FACT. The case was prosecuted on behalf of the Premier League by David Groome and Ari Alibhai of QEB Hollis Whiteman Chambers.
Kevin Plumb, the Premier League’s director of legal services, said that the judgment was “hugely significant” because it provides further evidence that the sale of streaming devices can be illegal and can result in a prison sentence.
“We have seen several reports from people who have purchased illicit streaming devices only to be left with no service when the seller is forced to cease trading because the law has caught up with them, or their broadcast signal has been interrupted by our enforcement measures,” he added.
Kieron Sharp, CEO of FACT, added that the sentences are excellent examples of how serious an issue illegal streaming is.
“This is no longer a grey area—selling devices like this or using one at home to watch content you normally would pay for is breaking the law. This sentencing should send out a very clear and strong message to anyone involved in the sale of these devices that it is very much illegal and that they risk spending time behind bars.”
This is the latest win for the Premier League—in January, it secured an injunction against internet hosting provider Ecatel in the Netherlands.
According to professional services firm RPC, the Premier League filed the second-most legal complaints at the English High Court last year, as it sought to combat illegal streaming.
English Premier League, Premier League, streaming, streaming devices, FACT, sports, football, illegal streaming, online