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IPTV: UK man JAILED for providing illegal streaming service

An IPTV provider in the UK has been jailed after being found guilty of operating one of the popular illegal streaming services as part of a UK-wide crackdown on sports piracy.

The guilty party allegedly raked in tens of thousands of pounds selling the illegal subscription service for online football matches.

Paul Merrell, 42, was handed a 12-month sentence at Birmingham Crown Court, as well as being made to pay £91,243 as a result of a confiscation order.

At his hearing on Friday, Merrell’s “Media Maverick” trading banner was said to have brought in a substantial income since being set up.

Merrell’s sentencing was brought on by a joint investigation from Birmingham City Council’s trading standards department and the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT).

FACT are paid by the Premier League to catch IPTV offenders in the UK.
FACT are paid by the Premier League to investigate breaches in their copyright by offenders such as Merrell.

The Premier League pays FACT to investigate the illegal distribution of their content and enforce their copyright, something which they have successfully done in Merrell’s case.

Merrell’s service was making use of IPTV (or Internet Protocol Television Technology, if you like) in the UK. His customers would pay a fee in order to watch premium sports television, including Premier League matches.

Merrell was convicted of Copyright crimes for the service, which he ran between 2017 and 2021, for providing access to these IPTV fuelled matches to UK customers.

IPTV UK crackdown…

His sentence comes as a part of a larger crackdown UK-wide, following an influx of preloaded IPTV boxes finding their way into the UK market.

An influx of preloaded IPTV boxes in the UK has sparked a large scale investigation.
An influx of preloaded IPTV boxes in the UK has sparked a large scale investigation.

It was only in May last year that another infamous IPTV gang were jailed in the UK for running a similar operation that generated over £7 million in revenue.

Keiran Sharp, the CEO of FACT, said that Merrell’s conviction would send a stark message to anybody involved in the rapidly increasing illegal trend in illegal sports broadcasting.

He said “”We remain committed to protecting the rights of our partners in the audio-visual and sports industries and we will seek out and prosecute individuals involved in such criminality,”

In addition to this, Tony Quigley, head of trading standards for Birmingham City Council, added his own comments on Merrell’s recent sentence.

He said ““Anyone who thinks they can get away with illegal streaming of subscription channels or pay-per-view events should take heed – next time it could be you facing a prison sentence and a hefty fine.”

An IPTV gang in the UK were jailed last May.
An IPTV gang was jailed in the UK last May.

Premier League general counsel member, Kevin Plumb, had also previously said that the league would continue to pursue illegal streaming setups in order to maintain order in the institutions financial setup.

Plumb said “”The Premier League’s substantial financial contribution to the entire football pyramid is made possible through the ability to sell our broadcast rights,”

Whether you agree with IPTV resellers illegally broadcasting Premier League matches in the UK or not, one thing is for sure – there is going to be no let up in investigations going forwards!