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Man jailed for selling online subscriptions to watch TV football matches

Man jailed for selling online subscriptions to watch TV football matches

A man has been jailed.

A man has been jailed for selling unlawful subscriptions to watch football matches online after being convicted of copyright crimes between 2017 and 2021.

A court hearing on Friday was told that Paul Merrell, 42, of Sutton Coldfield, had derived 'substantial income' from illegal Premier League streams under the banner of 'Media Maverick'.

He pleaded guilty to possessing, selling or distributing a device designed to circumvent technical measures and providing, promoting, advertising or marketing a service the purpose of which is to circumvent technical measures.

Merrell was given a 12-month jail sentence, and has been ordered to pay back £91,243 after a confiscation order was secured against him at Birmingham Crown Court.

BBC report that the court was told that, in exchange for a fee, customers were provided with online access that would allow them to stream televised content, including Premier League matches, without permission from legitimate providers.

He used Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) technology, which delivers TV content through Internet Protocol, or broadband, services and would allow users to stream Premier League matches and other premium TV programmes.

The court also heard that the 42-year-old acted as a reseller for 'Flawless', which has been described as the UK's largest pirate service.

In May, five people from the operation were handed a combined jail sentence of over 30 years after being found guilty of conspiracy to defraud, with one defendant also found guilty of money laundering and another found guilty of contempt of court.

The guilty verdict against Merrell followed a joint investigation by the Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact), which the Premier League pays to investigate and enforce its copyright as part of a crackdown on the issue, and the trading standards department at the Birmingham City Council.

Speaking after the verdict, Fact CEO Kieran Sharp said: "We remain committed to protecting the rights of our partners in the audio-visual and sports industries and we will seek out and prosecute individuals involved in such criminality."

Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: Premier League, Football, Sky Sports, BT Sport