Intellectual Property Crime Unit protects the rights of sports broadcasters
City of London Police have arrested a Manchester resident suspected of running a number of illegal sports streaming websites.
The operation was carried out by the recently established Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) and supported by the Greater Manchester Police.
This is not the first time a UK resident has been taken into custody on suspicion of infringing on the rights of sports broadcasters such as BSkyB. “Today’s operation is the unit’s third arrest in relation to online streaming and sends out a strong message that we are homing in on those who knowingly commit or facilitate online copyright infringement,” said DCI Danny Medlycott, the newly appointed head of PIPCU.
Transfer deadline day
The 27-year old man who was detained on Monday allegedly cost the industry more than £10 million by offering free access to subscription-only content. Following the arrest, PIPCU seized 12 servers that were found at his home in Manchester, which were used to broadcast a wide range of international sporting events.
“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,” said Medlycott.
PIPCU is a specialist police unit launched in September 2013 to protect intellectual property and combat the distribution of counterfeit physical and virtual goods. Assisted by notorious copyright protection vehicles like the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), it has been busy making arrests, closing websites and trying to stop legitimate brands from advertising with pirate resources.
The unit has been previously criticised for forcing domain name registrars to close websites suspected of copyright infringement without a court order or any legal justification to do so.
And last month, PIPCU arrested a man who was believed to be running proxy servers for 36 of the websites subject to legal blocking orders, such as The Pirate Bay. It’s not clear if the suspect had been charged – after all, proxy servers simply serve as gateways and don’t offer any illegal content themselves.
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