The UK’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has arrested a man in the north-western city of Manchester on suspicion of running a series of illegal sports streaming websites.
The arrest marks the third carried out by PIPCU in the streaming sector.
Early Monday, officers from PIPCU arrested a man in Manchester in the north of England. Police say the 27-year-old is believed to have operated a series of websites which offered access to subscription-only TV services.
PIPCU say that the domains were sports-focused, so given the premium pay TV landscape in the UK it seems probable that they infringed the rights of BSkyB and possibly the Premier League. Police are yet to confirm the details.
The man was arrested at his home in the North West by the City of London Police’s specialist IP unit where detectives found evidence of what is described as an “industrial size” streaming operation, including 12 computer servers streaming a wide range of sporting events from across the world, which have since been seized and taken away.
The operation was supported by Greater Manchester Police with the suspect being taken to a local police station for questioning.
DCI Danny Medlycott, the newly appointed Head of PIPCU, said that the September 1st operation was the unit’s third arrest in relation to online streaming and sent out a strong message that we PIPCU was homing in on those who knowingly commit or facilitate online copyright infringement.
“Not only is there a significant loss to industry with this particular operation but it is also unfair that millions of people work hard to be able to afford to pay for their subscription-only TV services when others cheat the system,” he said.
PIPCU is based within the Economic Crime Directorate of the City of London Police, the National Lead Force for Fraud. It is a specialist police unit dedicated to protecting the UK industries that produce legitimate, high quality, physical goods and online and digital content from intellectual property crime.
The operationally independent unit launched in September 2013 and is initially being funded by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), which is part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
The City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit was set up in the summer of 2013, and has quickly grown to become one of the world’s most active anti-piracy operations.
The unit employs a wide range of strategies, from writing to domain registrars and threatening them, to working with advertisers in order to strangle the revenues of ‘pirate’ sites.
PIPCU also relies on old-fashioned police work to deal with sites that fail to heed their warnings to tow the line. This has resulted in several arrests in the UK and the closure of dozens of domains, torrent site proxies in particular.
With key partner the Federation Against Copyright Theft and its members including the Premier League and BSkyB, piracy of TV-destined content has become an area of interest to PIPCU, particularly that involving live sports.