Trading standards officers and police are carrying out a crackdown across England, Wales and Northern Ireland against those who offer pirate and counterfeit products via Facebook.
Interestingly, ‘pirate’ Android boxes have been targeted again, for streaming content illegally.
Facebook accounts are more and more being used as a way to distribute pirated content..
Operated by the National Trading Standards eCrime Team alongside the National Markets Group (with members the BPI, Federation against Copyright Theft and the Alliance for Intellectual Property Theft) Operation Jasper is manned by officers from police and government agencies and is reportedly the largest operation of its type. It is targeted at “criminals” who exploit social media to commit “copyright theft” and sell “dangerous and counterfeit” goods.
In the past several weeks officers say they have raided 12 addresses although at this stage there are no reports of any arrests.
Facebook itself has also been hit, with 4,300 listings and 20 profiles removed.
Authorities say they have sent more than 200 warning letters and 24 cease and desist letters to those they accuse of infringement offenses carried out on Facebook.
Pirate Android ‘streaming’ boxes were targeted yet again. Earlier this month police and trading standards raided addresses in the north of England in search of the movie and TV show streaming devices, making at least one arrest in the process.
Lord Toby Harris, Chair of National Trading Standards, said that his officers have taken important action, especially against those who believe they can operate anonymously online.
“Operation Jasper has struck an important psychological blow against criminals who believe they can operate with impunity on social media platforms without getting caught,” Harris said.
“It shows we can track them down, enter their homes, seize their goods and computers and arrest and prosecute them, even if they are operating anonymously online. I commend the National Trading Standards e-Crime team and all other parties involved in this operation.”
“Counterfeiting and piracy of trademarked and copyrighted materials harms legitimate businesses, threatens jobs and pose a real danger to consumers. That’s why we are taking strong action to stop these criminals through the Government’s funding of the National Trading Standards E-Crime Team,” Boles said.
The ‘custom Kodi’ epidemic hasn’t gone unnoticed in the Netherlands either. Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN is currently engaged in legal action against Filmspeler.nl, a seller of “fully loaded” (a euphemism for “piracy configured”) Android boxes.
In fact, BREIN is so serious about ending the problem that the case is being sent to the European Court of Justice so that an opinion can be gained on whether streaming from illegal sources represents a breach of EU law. If BREIN wins it won’t end the problem, but it will draw a line in the sand in terms of how such products can be advertised and sold.
“We will always look at any system that is aimed at providing access to copyrighted content without consent of the right holders and by doing so is causing damage to the earning potential of right holders and licensed platforms,” BREIN chief Tim Kuik told TorrentFreak.
Comment: So UK police are starting to clampdown on the illegal internet streams and providers. Although at the moment they seem to be focusing on Android boxes that is offering pirated / copyrighted material, will they later turn their attention to other paid IPTV services that offer similar material?