The latest example from Britain, but also other examples from Europe, show that piracy can be effectively detected but also condemned, writes Erika Luzsicza.
The British have cracked down on TV piracy in an exemplary way. They are setting the rules on how to deal with this type of crime. A group of five men who illegally streamed popular Premier League football matches were sentenced to a total of 30 years in prison. What may seem like a relatively trivial matter was actually a million-dollar business. The five were in fact selling access to watch at a rate of £10 per month. They made more than £7 million, or roughly £168 million. They managed to entice more than 50,000 subscribers and other resellers.
What is interesting is how the case was approached. The leader of the group was found guilty by the court of conspiracy to defraud, money laundering and also contempt of court. Overall, these are the longest prison sentences for piracy ever handed down in Britain. As highlighted by lawyers for the Premier League itself, the prosecutions were brought to protect some of the world’s most valuable content.
Harsh sentences have been handed out in the past – such as in 2019, when a trio of men were tried for illegally providing streaming services to more than a thousand pubs and clubs. Together they will serve a total of 17 years in prison.
Similar cases have been on the rise in recent years, across Europe. They show that piracy can be effectively detected but also condemned. The damage is enormous. The Premier League itself points out that the sale of copyrights makes a significant financial contribution to the entire football pyramid.
At the same time, these reports help to motivate other countries on how they can approach piracy and, where possible, crack down.