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British Organization for the Protection of Intellectual Property RealityWith the help of Greater Manchester Police, they investigated the internet provider’s operation of pirated receivers that allowed access to subscription-based pay-TV content without paying broadcast fees. The investigation began in April 2014 and FACT identified the supplier as Michael HornungShe lives in Cheshire and works under the name NoHatsNoTrainersvia the internet platform CS . world.
In June 2014, a test purchase of a pirated set-top box was made and it was found that the device was able to access hundreds of channels from Virgin’s cable subscription service, including Sky Sports and Sky Movies, without making any payments.
Hornung was arrested in February 2017. He was charged with various charges, including fraud. He later fled the UK, but was tried in absentia and found guilty of all charges on 13 May 2022.
Managing Director of FACT, Kiron SharpHe said:
We thank Greater Manchester Police for their work in this area, and their support and assistance is crucial to obtaining evidence for trial. FACT will continue to monitor channels used for advertising, marketing, sales, distribution of applications and broadcast devices and take action against suppliers and operators.
Individuals are motivated by the financial benefits of providing illegal content, but FACT is at the forefront of combating digital piracy and in this case has worked closely with Greater Manchester Police to bring the person to justice for their criminal activities.
This finding should serve as a warning to anyone involved in providing illegal content. FACT’s collaboration with broadcasters and rights holders will continue to crack down on illegal broadcasting and hold those behind it to account.
After the ruling, Judge Angela Nield noted that the crime affected a large number of victims, including not only rights holders, but also legal subscribers of pay-TV services who provided effective support to those who gained illegal access to pay-TV.
Michael Hornung was convicted of:
- Offering goods for fraudulent use other than art. 7 sec. 1 of the Fraud Act 2006.
- Unauthorized sale of a set-top box in violation of Section 297A(I)(a) of the Copyright, Design and Patent Act 1988.
- Declaring unauthorized set-top boxes for sale contrary to Section 297A(I)(d) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
Although absent from court, Michael Hornung was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison after escaping into Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus, an area with which the UK has no extradition treaty.
The judge determined that Hornung had deliberately escaped, indicating that it was not unreasonable to say that this was a planned escape.
The annual value of PayPal transactions showed an annual sales volume of approximately $125,000. GBP. (676 thousand PLN)
A hearing on the crimes will be held on August 10.
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