Sweeping UK Operation Takes Down 47 IPTV Providers

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In a substantial move against the rampant TV piracy business, the industry watchdog FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft) alongside Sky, recently joined forces with local police units to root out illegal IPTV service providers scattered across the UK.

This mission, stretching over three weeks, was laser-focused on halting the unauthorized broadcast of premium TV channels and movies, notably those under Sky’s banner.

The days unfolded with teams spanning out across various UK regions, identifying illegal IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) providers.

Armed with legal notices, they knocked on doors in Dorset, Cambridgeshire, the West Midlands, North Midlands, and Greater Manchester.

The IPTV operators were issued legal warnings either in person, by post, or via email, making them aware of their illegal activities and the potential legal repercussions.

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Illustrative Photo

The operation’s tally was telling. A total of 47 legal notices were distributed to the rogue IPTV providers, shedding light on the extent of illegal IPTV operations in the UK.

With the delivery of these notices, many illegal services were taken down, and their adverts were removed, showcasing the effectiveness of cease-and-desist notices in disrupting illegal IPTV operations.

A notable case was the arrest of a 32-year-old man from Ipswich by the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU).

Despite a prior cease-and-desist notice from FACT for selling illegal IPTV subscriptions, he continued with his illegal services until a thorough investigation by FACT led to his arrest.

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Illustrative Photo

Illegal IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) refers to unauthorised streaming services that distribute television content over the Internet without the necessary rights or permissions from the content creators or owners.

Unlike legal streaming platforms like Netflix and Prime Video, which operate within the law, have licensing agreements with content providers, and ensure a secure viewing experience, illegal IPTV services often provide access to pirated content, which can expose users to legal repercussions due to copyright infringement.

Following the recent operation, Kieron Sharp, CEO at FACT, emphasised the risks associated with illegal IPTV services, such as malware exposure, data compromise, and identity theft:

“Consumers who pay for pirate services should also know that they are often funding serious organised crime groups.

“FACT and Sky remain committed to disrupting these criminal operations and protecting consumers from the many dangers of illegal streaming”.

IPTV Battle Heating Up

The fight against illegal streaming in the UK isn’t new. Several cases in the recent past underline the risks and repercussions associated with IPTV piracy.

IPTV button on keyboard TV

Some notable instances from this year alone, include:

The Firestick Premier League Scheme: In a case that saw the intervention of the Premier League alongside other bodies, an illegal IPTV operation was dismantled.

This operation was found to be streaming Premier League football matches to tens of thousands of customers by using “jailbroken” apps on Amazon’s Fire TV devices.

IPTV Scammers Busted: In another significant case, individuals involved in an illegal IPTV operation that generated over £7 million were sentenced to a collective prison term of over 30 years.

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Premier League logo (Photo: Deposit Photos)

This operation, which also illegally streamed Premier League matches, had over 50,000 customers and resellers, along with 30 employees.

The BT Sport Scheme: Mark Brockley from Liverpool ran an IPTV service called “Infinity Streams”, offering illegal streaming of BT Sport content.

Despite making over £237,000 from over 5,000 sales, Brockley’s operation was eventually busted, leading to a five-year jail sentence, although he remains at large.

How To Identify Illegal IPTV Services

Identifying illegal IPTV sites and services can be a bit tricky as they often masquerade as legitimate ones – and the low prices can certainly look tempting.

However, there are certain red flags you can look out for. A primary indicator is the subscription fee – if it seems suspiciously low for the amount of content available, then you should be wary. 

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The legality of the content is another indicator. Illegal IPTV services often boast access to newly released movies or live sports events without proper licensing.

A quick check on the official websites of the content providers or a look at the list of official broadcasters for live events (such as TNT Sports, Sky Sports, etc.) can help determine the legality of the service.

Additionally, legitimate streaming services have a professional appearance, clear terms of service, and a straightforward way to contact customer service, while illegal IPTV services may lack these elements.

Lastly, consider the payment methods. Legitimate services will provide standard payment options like credit cards or direct debits, while illegal IPTV services might require cryptocurrency payments or unknown 3rd party payment services.

As a rule of thumb – if the offer looks too good to be true (several expensive streaming services being offered for a low price under one service, expensive sports subscriptions that suddenly cost half, etc.) – then it probably IS too good to be true.

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7 thoughts on “Sweeping UK Operation Takes Down 47 IPTV Providers”

  1. Little wonder people use illegal IPTV with the prices the legitimate providers charge. £30/month for TNT Sport, £34/month for Sky Sports on Now TV, and £15/month for Viaplay means nearly £80/month just to watch club and international football. In other countries you can get the whole lot for 10 euro/month and have catch up of complete games.

  2. My issue is not with paying for content through TV packages, SKY, ViaPlay etc. It is with content not made available within the UK owing to outdated agreements with sports companies.
    How can you pirate content that is no available on any platform in your geographic area ?

  3. There’s a cost of living crisis. Everything costs more. Disney, Netflix etc are all putting prices up, stopping sharing between family members and they wonder why folk pirate.

  4. The problem as I see it is the fact that many of the “subscribers” to these services are attracted by the fact that they have access to content that si mply isn’t provided by mainstream broadcasters. Football is a case in point, the ridiculous rule that matches held at 3pm on a Saturday are not allowed to be shown means that many people who are unable to follow their team because of a lack of tickets or the price of those tickets are led to accessing their team’s games via illegal services. And who can blame them! If the moribund PL and EFL administrators did something for the fans for once rather than for Sky and TNT then this wouldn’t happen. Why, for example, could a supporter buy a TV season ticket that would allow them to watch their team’s away games?

    • There’s a quirky law behind the 3pm games and the reason they can’t be televised lol. Honestly it’d to stop the pubs broadcasting them and the hope was people we pay to go to the stadium to watch there team. Honestly I’m not joking. Goggle it. It’s a old law now and definitely wouldn’t stop someone in this day of age from going to the match

  5. My biggest problem with most online services is the way we are being coerced by advertising. It either ruins what you’re trying to do or they offer to remove it if you pay. Isn’t this how protection rackets operated in the past? I’m pay BT at the moment for a glorified Freeview box and when my wife and I evaluated what we’re really watching we’ve decided we won’t be renewing our service. However you dress it up all these services are ripping us off.


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