Be warned, if you sell any sort of device or service that will let people access premium content without paying the rights holder, you will be caught and you'll likely go to prison. Two men found that out the hard way, each being sentenced to four and a half years in prison by Newcastle Crown Court.
Their crime? Selling Illicit Streaming Devices (aka ISDs or Kodi boxes) and associated services to pubs and clubs, letting customers tune into Premier League football games without paying. It shouldn't be a surprise that this happened, really, particularly with the tough stance the Premier League and similar organisations have when it comes to football piracy.
John Dobbs and Jason Richards were convicted of selling hundreds of ISDs, enabling their customers to illegally watch Premier League football games from Sky, BT Sport, and foreign streams. They were also found guilty of fraud, having sold customers boxes that either didn't work or had the interrupted broadcast signal - though that bit might not entirely be the sellers' fault.
The two apparently earned £1.5 million selling the devices, and both were also caught trying to prevent authorities from gathering evidence. Dobbs hid the keys to his car, which contained equipment and client lists, several streets from his house. Richards, on the other hand, intentionally tried to conceal evidence by destroying hard drives and hiding information in his freezer. That led to him receiving a extra charge of trying to pervert the course of justice. Apparently both are joint recipients of the longest sentence dished out for this time of crime. So far, anyway.
The pair were caught in a group operation that involved the Premier League, Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), plus numerous local bodies that included local Trading Standards and North East GAIN. TorrentFreak also notes that a number of their clients were sued as a result of buying the devices and accompanying services, which a local Judge claimed would likely affect their ability to apply for a liquor licence in future.
So really nobody came out looking good here. Except maybe the Premier League, which took out some criminals defrauding it and its partners. Though considering how often this happens, you'd think they'd at least try to stop the cost of watching televised football spiralling out of control.