If you were thinking about selling off some dodgy pirate streaming boxes to make some quick money, it's probably a good idea to scrap that plan and come up with something less illegal. Another man has received a five year, three month jail sentence for selling over 8,000 piracy boxes. His wife received a two year suspended sentence for her trouble as well.
John Haggerty and Mary Josephine Gilfillan both ran Evolution Trading Company Limited, which was incorporated for the stated purpose of “wholesale of coffee, tea, cocoa and spices”. It was also used to peddle streaming boxes, based on Kodi, that granted illegal access to premium content without the user having to pay for it. Some of those boxes were already pre-loaded with illegal IPTV services.
The couple's advertising apparently focused on the boxes would grant people free access to otherwise premium content, including sports and films, and following searches by FACT they were taken to court. Prosecutors claimed that the couple operated between March 2013 to July 2015, during which time they generated at least £764,000 in sales from a physical shop and through online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. Each device was apparently sold for between £75 and £100, though searches found they also went for as little as £52. Pubs were also reported to have paid £400 for a box, while customers could also have IPTV service Infusum.tv (created by Haggerty) included for £15 a month.
Chronicle Live also reports that Haggerty had multiple passports, under different names, and set up a company in Nevis hide the nature of his business. On top of that both he and his wife were found to have supplied false documents to UK Immigration Service to sponsor an Egyptian national who was left in charge of the IPTV service. As a result Haggerty has been jailed for five years and three months for conspiracy to defraud, though his wife only had a minor role and received a two year suspended sentence as a result. She was also ordered to perform 200 hours of unpaid work.
Judge Simon Batiste said:
“This was a very sophisticated fraud perpetrated primarily by you, John Haggerty.
You sold 8,000 set top boxes and started services including streaming services, you created an application to enable other devices to access the stream you created. In particular devices permitted users to view all Premier League matches and films, some of which hadn’t even been released in the cinema.”
This case is slightly unusual, since the couple weren't just flogging hardware with some pre-configured addons. They were running an entire operation involving IPTV streams and other way more serious offences. But it goes to show that people can't really get away with this sort of thing. It may have taken a long time for the couple to end up in court, but copyright holders are serious about taking down piracy, especially streaming piracy that's become so popular the last few years. [Chronicle Live via TorrentFreak]