A pirate IPTV operator has been arrested through a joint investigation by the West Mercia Police, Premier League, and FACT.
In a recent development from Shrewsbury, Steven Mills, the man behind the pirate IPTV brands Eyepeeteevee and Pikabox, has been sentenced to 36 months in prison.
This case offers a unique insight into how the Premier League leverages such news to bolster its anti-piracy campaign against IPTV services.
Pirate IPTV Operator Arrested
Steven Mills, 58, was arrested in 2021 following a joint investigation by the Premier League, West Mercia Police, and anti-piracy organization FACT.
Although his websites claimed to sell only hardware, evidence suggests otherwise. Marketing materials for Mills’ brands, Pikabox UK and Eyepeeteevee, clearly indicated the illegal services.
The establishment of Pikabox UK Ltd in 2017 further solidified the grounds for his prosecution.
The ‘Illegal Firestick’ Narrative
The Premier League’s press release on Mills’ sentencing is particularly intriguing. Mills operated an organization selling “Firesticks” via a closed Facebook group, boasting over 30,000 subscribers.
The release’s emphasis on “Firesticks” is noteworthy. Despite being legal hardware, the term ‘Firestick’ is repeatedly associated with piracy in the press release.
Kevin Plumb, Premier League General Counsel, emphasized the importance of public awareness regarding the dangers of illegal streaming services.
The Premier League’s campaign seems to target a demographic that identifies ‘Firesticks’ and similar terms with piracy, even though more informed individuals understand that the device itself isn’t the issue.
Further Developments and Messaging
The Premier League’s release also highlighted police and FACT’s actions against users of pirate IPTV services.
While initial reports suggested around 1,000 home visits, the actual number was significantly lower.
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However, those targeted were confirmed to be Mills’ customers. The Premier League stated that resellers of Mills’ services are currently under investigation.
Interestingly, Mills was convicted not only for providing illegal content but also for watching it. This sends a clear message: even watching pirated streams can have severe consequences.
The judge, during sentencing, emphasized the sophistication of Mills’ operation, noting the use of VPNs and tutorial videos to aid customers in accessing illegal content.
The Premier League’s focus on VPNs is evident, suggesting a strategy to associate VPNs with illegal activities in the public’s mind.
The Premier League’s anti-piracy drive is more than just about prosecuting those involved in illegal streaming.
It’s a comprehensive strategy that involves shaping public perception, targeting specific narratives, and leveraging news to amplify their message.
For more information on this story, refer to the TorrentFreak report.
Legal IPTV Streaming Options
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If and when an IPTV service is deemed illegal, we notify our users immediately and update reports on our website like this one to reflect that information.
In conclusion, the end-user is responsible for all content accessed through free IPTV apps and paid services.
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