John Dodds and Jason Richards have been jailed for 4.5 years each for selling a sophisticated intellectual property infringement service to pubs and clubs across the North East of England.
Pubs are often charged thousands of pounds per month to legitimately show premier league football, premiership rugby, and headline boxing matches. Dodds and Richards saw an opportunity to undercut their legitimate rivals by offering an Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) device to landlords for around £200 per month.
The device would allow almost limitless access to domestic and international sport across 18 channels, and was sold to landlords as part of a very professional and sophisticated broadcast service which came with full customer support.
Recorder John Thackray presided over the private prosecution brought by the Premier League, and was told by David Groome, prosecuting, that some of the pair's customers had since been sued or prosecuted themselves, despite having been told they were purchasing a legitimate service.
This is an example of when commercialisation of intellectual property infringement can overreach the bounds of civil remedies and result in private prosecutions and prison time. The sentence is reflective of the £1.5m taken by the pair over the course of the fraud, and the unquantifiable sum lost by broadcasters as a result. The pair were also criticised for their lack of regard for their customers, who they knowingly lead in to committing infringements of their own.
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