2 June 2016

FACT cracks down on illegal set-top TV boxes

The Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) and Police Scotland have executed two search warrants in Glasgow as part of an ongoing investigation into the sale of illegal TV boxes.

They executed the warrants at addresses in Glasgow on Thursday, May 26, in an investigation into the sale of boxes to hundreds of licensed premises.

Licensed premises can purchase TV boxes and stream content illegally from broadcasters for a significantly reduced price.

The pubs used Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) boxes to illegally stream sports, films, and TV.

It is estimated that the criminal operation has cost broadcasters more than £40 million ($57.8 million) across the UK over the past eight years.

FACT and Police Scotland have been working together for the past 16 months to identify the source of the operation, which is based in Glasgow but has a network across the UK and Scotland.

Sky, BT and the English Premier League have also supported the investigation.

Chief inspector David Pettigrew, from London Road police office, said: “The scale of this operation is significant, with an estimated 500 pubs involved but this could really be just the tip of the iceberg.”

Kieron Sharp, director general of FACT, said: “Pub landlords, as well as the general public, need to be aware of IPTV, and set-top boxes with apps and add-ons allowing the streaming of pirated TV, sports and films are very much illegal.”

This was first published on  Trademarks and Brands Online.

Already registered?

Login to your account

To request a FREE 2-week trial subscription, please signup.
NOTE - this can take up to 48hrs to be approved.

Two Weeks Free Trial

For multi-user price options, or to check if your company has an existing subscription that we can add you to for FREE, please email Adrian Tapping at

More on this story

11 August 2016   The City of London’s Police Intellectual Property Unit has arrested three people in an operation designed to stop the distribution of TV set-top boxes that had been illegally modified to stream pirated content.
24 February 2017   The UK Intellectual Property Office has asked whether there is any need for legislative changes to deal with illicit internet protocol television streaming devices.
22 May 2018   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.