For many years, video-focused Internet piracy was all about obtaining pre-recorded content such as movies and TV shows. Now, however, the rise of streaming is enabling a massive uptake of live ‘pirate’ programming.
At the forefront of this movement are web streaming portals, dedicated Kodi add-ons, and premium IPTV services. The latter, which can rival official services, tend to offer a better quality service but with a price tag attached. This has resulted in a whole new market for people seeking to generate revenue from piracy.
One of those outfits was UK-based BulkyIPTV, but as first reported here on TF, last week the entire operation was shut down after police arrested its operator.
“Hi all. Today I was arrested. Everything has been shut down,” its operator confirmed Wednesday.
“They took everything – phone, laptop, PC and cash, as well as other stuff to gather evidence against me. I’m sorry it has come to this but i’m looking at a stretch inside.”
Soon after the news was made public, many people on Facebook speculated that the arrest never happened and that BulkyIPTV’s operator had conjured up a story in order to “do a runner” with his customers’ subscription money.
However, a source close to the situation insisted that an arrest had been made in the Derby area of the UK in connection with live TV piracy, a fact we reported in our article.
For a few days things went silent, but in a joint statement with the Federation Against Copyright Theft, Derbyshire Police have now confirmed that they executed a warrant at a Derby property last week.
“The warrant took place on Tuesday (18th July) as part of ongoing work to stop the use of the illegal set top boxes, which are tampered with to enable them to offer a range of premium subscription services such as Sky TV and BT Sport without paying for them,” the police statement reads.
While the police don’t specifically mention BulkyIPTV in their press release, everything points to the operator of the service being the person who was targeted last week.
BulkyGifts.co.uk, a site connected to BulkyIPTV that sold a product which enabled people to access cable and satellite programming cheaply, was initially registered to the address that police targeted on Tuesday in Grenfell Avenue, Sunny Hill. The name of the person who registered the domain is also a perfect match with Electoral Roll records and social media profiles across numerous sites.
Police confirmed that a 29-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of fraud, money laundering, and copyright offenses. Electronic equipment was seized along with a “large amount” of cash.
In a statement, Kieron Sharp, CEO of the Federation Against Copyright Theft, reminded sellers and buyers of these services that their actions are illegal.
“This collaboration between Derbyshire police and FACT is another step forward in disrupting the sale of illegal streaming devices,” Sharp said.
“People may think there is nothing wrong with having one of these devices and streaming premium pay-for channels for free, such as live sports. However, this is illegal and you would be breaking the law.”
As highlighted in our opinion piece last week, some service providers appear to be playing fast and loose with their security. If that trend continues, expect FACT and the police to keep taking these services down.