22 May 2018Copyright

‘Billie the Bookie’ receives prison sentence for copyright offences

A UK-based man who traded as “Billie the Bookie” has been given a ten-month prison term for selling illegal TV devices after having been sentenced for the same crime in 2016.

William Marston was given a 12-month suspended sentence two years ago after admitting to selling unauthorised decoders adapted to enable access to encrypted transmissions.

The details were included in a joint press release by the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) and Sports Information Services (SIS), a supplier of products and services to the online and retail betting markets.

The release said that Marston appeared at Norwich Crown Court on May 4 after pleading guilty to selling unauthorised decoders in contravention of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

Despite his earlier sentence, which was suspended for two years, Marston was caught re-offending and breaching the terms of his punishment, according to FACT.

“Marston had continued to advertise and sell unauthorised decoders that allowed illegal access to sports content such as horse and greyhound racing, aimed at the online and retail betting markets,” the release said.

“Previously, Marston operated openly online selling illegal set-top boxes via eBay. After his first conviction, however, he resumed his activities using more sophisticated technology and also attempting to avoid detection by selling via private Facebook groups.”

After a second investigation, Marston was re-arrested and was ultimately sentenced again at Norwich Crown Court.

Kieron Sharp, CEO of FACT, said: “This result is an excellent example of how serious an issue illegal streaming is. Whether it’s a re-stream on social media, a piracy site, or using a device, box or stick connected to your TV, avoiding the official provider to access content is illegal.”

Kevin Smith, general counsel of SIS, added: “We are particularly gratified that the court recognised that Marston’s actions undermined the entire system of how betting is licensed and racing is funded, and that the sentence highlights the fact that the courts are prepared to treat copyright infringement as theft.”

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More on this story

2 June 2016   The Federation Against Copyright Theft and Police Scotland have executed two search warrants in Glasgow as part of an ongoing investigation into the sale of illegal TV boxes.
2 September 2014   Trade body the Federation Against Copyright Theft has secured a record fine against a pub showing a Sky Sports televised football match illegally, it has revealed.