Illegal Premier League Streaming Operation Dismantled
In a significant victory against piracy, a group of five men have been sentenced to prison for illegally streaming Premier League matches to over 50,000 football fans. The operation, which spanned five years, generated more than £7 million in revenue.
The mastermind behind the operation, Mark Gould, 36, from London, was handed an 11-year prison sentence at Chesterfield Crown Court. His co-defendants – Steven Gordon, Peter Jolley, William Brown, and Christopher Felvus – were also convicted of conspiracy to defraud, money laundering, and contempt of court. A sixth member, Zak Smith, is currently at large with a warrant issued for his arrest.
The group offered illegal access to matches from hundreds of channels worldwide, as well as tens of thousands of on-demand films and TV shows. Their operation even included 30 employees, one of whom was undercover at a specialist anti-piracy company.
William Brown, from Stoke-on-Trent, claimed to have been an undercover informant acting in the interests of law enforcement authorities and broadcasters. However, the jury unanimously convicted the 33-year-old, who used his technical skills to hack legitimate customers’ accounts to access and copy streams. Brown was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison.
The Premier League’s general counsel, Kevin Plumb, commented on the case, stating, “Today’s sentencing is the result of a long and complex prosecution of a highly sophisticated operation. The sentences handed down, which are the longest sentences ever issued for piracy-related crimes, vindicate the efforts made to bring these individuals to justice and reflect the severity and extent of the crimes.”
This case serves as a stark reminder of the links between piracy and wider criminality. The Premier League will continue to protect its rights and its fans by investigating and prosecuting illegal operators at all levels.