A husband and wife criminal team have been convicted and sentenced in the UK for pirating English Premier League content in the latest victory for rights-holders over sellers of illicit streaming devices.
The pair were said to have made £750,000 (€850,000) by selling over 8,000 illicit streaming devices and setting up their own streaming service – Infusum.tv – to provide illegal access to Premier League football.
John Haggerty, the owner of Evolution Trading, was sentenced to five years and three months in prison in Newcastle Crown Court after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud and dishonestly obtaining services for another, contrary to the Fraud Act.
Mary Gilfillan was convicted of fraud and was given a two-year suspended sentence.
The case marks the first example of a court warning that the use, as well as the supply, of such boxes, can result in criminal convictions, with the judge warning that Haggerty had put his customers at risk of prosecution.
Premier League director of legal services Kevin Plumb said that the facts of the case “should be a warning to the authorities and consumers about the types of people involved in this activity”. He said that the League was “currently engaged in one of the biggest and most successful anti-piracy programmes in the World”.
Kieron Sharp, CEO of the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) said that the sentencing was “another step forward in the right direction to tackling the issue of illegal streaming”. He said that the public “should be aware that selling devices or subscriptions that allow access to premium content you normally pay for is illegal” and that “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”.