1 December 2021CopyrightMuireann Bolger

Netflix, Sky, BT Sport hacker given 30-month jail sentence

A software developer who offered illegal access to BT Sport, SKY, Netflix and other subscription television content has been sentenced to 30 months imprisonment, reportedly the first conviction of its type in the UK.

Stephen Millington appeared at Chester Crown Court yesterday on November 30, 202, after pleading guilty to multiple fraud and copyright offences.

These included making and supplying software to enable illegal access to subscription content, distributing infringing film content via a dedicated server, sharing login credentials for subscription streaming services and illegally accessing content for his own use.

The value of the content unlawfully made available is estimated to be in the region of £3.8 million ($5 million) per year, totalling in excess of £10 million during the lifetime of the fraud.

Anti-piracy organisation FACT worked with BT to identify Millington and referred the case to the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit, which then worked with Greater Manchester Police to secure the prosecution.

The court heard how Millington distributed his software package to thousands of users, enabling them to access premium television and film content without payment, and causing potential losses to the legitimate broadcast industry of millions of pounds per year.

He also supplied details of the ‘Supremacy’ and ‘Supremacy Sports’ add-ons, that enabled users to access that content via a group he set up and managed on Facebook, in which thousands of members were given instructions and support with use of the add-ons.

Millington also created multiple YouTube videos which helped users install the software and add-ons and demonstrated the ability of his programme to enable the viewing of subscription television and film content.

In addition to these offences, Millington shared login details for Netflix, allowing others to access his accounts.

During sentencing, the court held that: “When looking at loss in these types of cases you need to consider not only the companies that create and produce the content but also the loss to those who legitimately pay to subscribe.

“There was sophistication in the way he created the build, clearly planned and it was also clear from the evidence that from his activities, thousands of users were provided with access to illicit content.”

Commenting on the case, FACT chief executive Kieron Sharp said:

“Enabling illegal access to content is fraud; a crime with serious consequences, as shown in this sentencing. It is now clear that the courts will hold those choosing to break the law to account, and will deliver convictions that will have a significant and long-lasting effect on individuals involved.”

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