Illegally broadcasting football over the internet has severe criminal consequences in the UK. In 2019, three men were sentenced to over 17 years together for hacking the Premier League. The ringleader of this operation Pirate IPTVSteven King, was then charged with seven years and four months in prison, but now, if he does not pay 1,126,864 euros in exchange, another six years and eight months will be added to his sentence.
Steven King he supposedly made profits of more than £5 million, so he could supposedly face such a fine, right?
The football pirate IPTV organization
Steven King was the ringleader of an organization that operated a pirate IPTV business offering subscription packages to over 1,000 pubs, clubs and homes in England and Wales, through his websites DreamBoxTV.co.uk and YourFootie.com. The companies behind these sites traded under the names of Dreambox, Dreambox TV Limited y Digital Switchover Limited.
Beside King were Paul Rolstone and Daniel Malone, who for a decade generated profits of 5 million pounds (5,851,570 euros) from the resale of illegal transmissions. The English Premier League was the one who tracked down the aforementioned domains and ended up finding those responsible in 2019.
Together with the anti-piracy company FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft), the English league decided to end its copyright-protected content reselling operation and file a lawsuit against the trio, which subsequently resulted in a four-week trial in the Warwick Crown Court.
More prison or fine?
Steven King was then considered, in 2019, the intellectual author of the crime, for which his sentence was the longest, with seven years and four months in prison. Paul Rolston was sentenced to six years and four months and Daniel Malone received three years and three months behind bars. At that time, they were placed among the most significant sentences for this type of crime ever handed down by a UK courtadding more than 17 years between the three members.
The penalties, although they were significant at the level of deprivation of liberty, still they did not repair the economic damage and, if said loot was kept somewhere, they could enjoy it upon release from prison. Well, that’s where the Premier League has now struck, with an attempted recovery through the 2002 Proceeds of Crime Act.
“Today, at Warwick Crown Court, he was ordered to confiscate the proceeds of his criminal activities and repay £963,000 within three months, or face extension of their prison sentence for another six years and eight months. The judge ruled that King must also surrender his passport within 28 days and cannot travel abroad until the sum has been paid.”, says the Premier League in a statement.
The money, however, will not go to the coffers of the league itself, rather the Premier League has requested that all money recovered “be returned to public bodies, including law enforcement agencies, to help them continue the fantastic work you do to help bring people like this to justice.”
“We will continue to work with law enforcement to tackle piracy of our content and educate fans about the dangers of watching Premier League matches through unauthorized broadcasts.”