Illegal Premier League streamer handed £1m fine
A man who led an operation to illegally stream content from the Premier League has been ordered to repay almost £1 million.
Steven King masterminded the pirate streaming operation Dreambox and was jailed for seven years and four months in March 2019.
At Warwick Crown Court yesterday (June 6), he has been ordered to forfeit the proceeds of his criminal activities and pay back £963,000 within three months, or face having his prison sentence extended by an additional six years and eight months.
The judge ruled King must also surrender his passport within 28 days and cannot travel abroad until the sum has been paid.
King was one of three operators behind Dreambox, who were jailed for a total of 17 years for conspiracy to defraud; some of the longest sentences ever issued for piracy-related crimes.
Trading under the names Dreambox (unincorporated), Dreambox TV Limited, and Digital Switchover Limited, via websites at dreamboxtv.co.uk and yourfootie.com, the three men had provided illegal access to Premier League football to more than 1,000 pubs, clubs and homes throughout England and Wales.
The original case was privately prosecuted by the Premier League following a joint investigation with the Federation against Copyright Theft (FACT) into the service.
Premier League General Counsel Kevin Plumb said: “This result clearly shows that supplying illegal streams is a criminal offence leading to prison sentences and significant financial consequences. We are pleased the courts have recognised the seriousness of piracy-related crimes and the Premier League has requested all money recovered goes back to public bodies, including law enforcement agencies, to help them continue the fantastic work they do in helping bring people like this to justice.
“The vast majority of our fans watch Premier League action via authorised sources but for those who don’t, they must be aware this is not only an illegal activity that can lead to custodial sentences but they also risk becoming victims of hacking and fraud. We will continue to work with law enforcement to tackle piracy of our content and to educate fans on the dangers of watching Premier League matches via unauthorised streams.”
FACT chief executive officer Kieron Sharp said: “This is a warning to anyone selling subscriptions or devices that allow access to content without remunerating the legitimate provider – you risk time in jail and the loss of your properties, cars and other proceeds of crime. FACT will continue to work with the Premier League and other rights holders to crack down on illegal streaming and to hold those behind it accountable for their actions.”