Technology

Watching Sky, Netflix and Prime Video for free just landed hundreds with a massive fine

The online piracy crackdown is continuing with hundreds of people that watched paid-for services like Sky, Netflix and Prime Video illegally facing major consequences. Over 200 people have been arrested after subscribing to an IPTV service – which gives illegal access to paid-for subscription channels. The arrests took place after police targeted a reseller of illegal streaming devices.

In total 240 people were arrested, and are now facing fines of over £20,000 – and potentially even jail time.

The arrests took place in a single region of Italy, and comes after law enforcement authorities for years have been trying to reduce the availability of pirate IPTV platforms in the area.

According to TorrentFreak, the arrests took place in the Italian city of Piacenza.

All of those arrested were subscribing to an IPTV service that offered access to Sky, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Dazn and Mediaset Premium content.

The IPTV service cost around £8.50 a month – which is significantly less than paying for all of these services legitimately.

At that price, you’re effectively getting free access to a number of paid-for services.

READ MORE: From today, Sky Q has one advantage over Virgin Media, BT and Freesat

To put it in perspective, Netflix’s basic plan costs £5.99 a month and the standard plan costs £9.99 in the UK.

In the aftermath of this recent batch of arrests in Italy, authorities are warning that fines between £2,213 and £22,131 could be issued.

Not only that, but criminal violations relating to the use of equipment for the “illegal decoding of conditional access to audiovisual broadcasts” could also be handed out.

The news comes after last year Italian police also reported 223 IPTV subscribers to judicial authorities.

If found guilty they could have faced a fine of 25,000 euros as well as an eight year prison sentence.

Elsewhere, last month in the UK investigators from FACT teamed up with the police to send Cease and Desist notices to individuals suspected of providing illegal streaming services.

The operation targeted those supplying illegal IPTV services, with the notices served at homes in Essex, Hertfordshire, West Yorkshire and Pembrokeshire.

FACT warned it would monitor any ongoing offending with further action taken against persistent offenders.

At the time Kieron Sharp, the chief executive of FACT, said: “We employ a range of tactics to prevent the provision of illegal streaming.

“Our continuous activity targets different elects of the global piracy landscape, with consideration given to the scale of the offending to ensure effective and proportionate action is taken.

“By taking these measures we are sending a clear message. Piracy is fraud and anyone motivated by financial gain from doing this needs to know that this is a crime which will be taken seriously by police.”

While David Hayes, a West Yorkshire police offer, added: “People may not think they are causing harm by selling streaming services for a quick penny but if you choose to do so, you are breaking the law and there will be consequences when you are caught.”


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