UK Man Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison for Selling Pirated Content

Not long after a Swedish court issued a 2.5-year jail sentence and a 24 million dollar fine for copyrights infringement, a UK court has sentenced a man to five years and three months in prison for similar charges. The man in question is John Haggerty, the founder of a company called Evolution Trading that sold Kodi (then known as XBMC) based devices; the company also sold subscriptions to an IPTV service. Haggerty’s wife and business partner Mary Josephine Gilfillan who played a minor role in the scheme received a two-year suspended sentence.

Evolution Trading was legally set up as a company to deal in the wholesale of coffee, tea, cocoa and spices. But the company was merely used as a facade for the dealings of a dummy company registered in Nevis, a small island in the Caribbean Sea.

In effect, Evolution trading was marketing and selling the “Stream Box”, a streaming device, and a pirated content subscription service. John and Marry had also supplied forged documents to the Immigration Service to sponsor an Egyptian national who took care of the illegal streaming service.

Stream Boxes were sold for between £75 and £100 to the public and £400 to pubs; the subscription service called sold for £15 per month.

The company made over a million dollars – close to £764,000 – from the period of time extending from March 2013 to July 2015. Revenues came from the sale of the set-top boxes, which they sold through a shop and online marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon.

According to prosecutors, Evolution Trading’s business cost broadcasters potential losses of £4m per year, undercutting broadcasters such as Sky and BT Sport in the process. People and pubs that bought the devices also ran the risk of prosecution.

According to Judge Simon Batiste who issued the sentence, “devices permitted users to view all Premier League matches and films, some of which hadn’t even been released in the cinema.”