After a year-long complex investigation coordinated by Europol, authorities in Hampshire, south east England, Scotland and Ireland have arrested six, suspected of illicitly distributing premium TV channels by using Internet Protocol television (IPTV) technology.
Piracy is a criminal activity. Moreover, from a consumer perspective, not only is it illegal to subscribe to these services, but one in four who stream illegally through a box or stick are affected by viruses and malware. Illegally streaming copyrighted television brings a significant loss to legitimate businesses (broadcasters and right owners) and threatens the livelihoods of those working legitimately in the industry and the wider economy.
Police officers carried out house searches on 11 September at different locations in Ireland and the UK. A man and a woman from Bursledon were arrested by the Hampshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service and Hampshire Constabulary. Four people were detained in Crumlin and Ashbourne (Ireland) and also several actions took place in Scotland. During the house searches, computer equipment and cash was seized and several bank accounts were frozen.
The arrests are the result of a complex investigation, involving a number of law enforcement agencies (Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Police Scotland, Trading Standards and UK IPO) and private sector partners, such as the Audiovisual Anti-Piracy Alliance (AAPA), Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT). This international investigation was coordinated from the beginning by Europol who supported with operational meetings, criminal analysis and the deployment of two experts to Dublin.
Sheila Cassells, Executive Director of AAPA and member of Europol’s IPC3 Stakeholder Advisory Group, commented that: “This case demonstrates clearly why it is crucial for the private sector and law enforcement to work together on these complex cases. The AAPA members involved value greatly the commitment of law enforcement to fighting audiovisual piracy and the coordination role undertaken by Europol.”