11 August 2016

PIPCU makes arrests over illegal set-top boxes

The City of London’s Police Intellectual Property Unit (PIPCU) 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.

Three men aged 36, 40 and 58 were arrested following an early morning police raid in Lancashire yesterday, August 10.

The men, who are in custody pending further investigation, were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud.

PIPCU teamed up with local police forces and the Federation Against Copyright Theft in the operation, which also resulted in the seizure of around 30 servers and set top boxes.

The boxes had been modified with illegal software to enable access to hundreds of paid for subscription only channels, including sports and movie channels.

The investigation also found that the devices were being sold online and were being marketed as legitimate to use anywhere in the world.

They were being sold for a yearly fee of around £400 ($518).

Peter Ratcliffe, head of PIPCU, said: “Our action today will disrupt what we understand to be a significant and highly resourced operation to distribute pirated television on an industrial scale to tens of thousands of people across the globe.”

He added: “Operations like this remain an integral part of protecting livelihoods supported by the entertainment industry and the law abiding public who pay for their channels with their hard earned cash.”

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More on this story

22 August 2016   UK-based group the Music Publishers Association has joined Operation Creative, the anti-piracy programme run by the City of London’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit.
6 January 2017   An investigation by the London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit has seen a UK man sentenced for selling counterfeit goods online.
17 January 2018   A group suspected of facilitating a large-scale illegal internet protocol TV network has been dismantled following cross-border criminal investigations.