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London police shut down streaming piracy organization, seize 30 servers

British authorities shut down a streaming piracy organization that offered pay-TV services to British expatriates. The City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) seized over 30 servers and arrested three people, Engadget is reporting.

The three arrested individuals are in custody, and are “suspected to have orchestrated the distribution and transmission of thousands of illegally modified TV set-top boxes to people worldwide,” according to an official statement from the PIPCU.

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According to that statement the company in question — which was not named — marketed its services as legitimate. British expatriates could pay 400 pounds (around $520) a year to watch premium TV shows and sports from anyone in the world, thanks to a modified set-top box. There were tens of thousands of customers.

“Some of the channels available on the devices include pay-per-view sports, the latest movies and U.K. broadcast television only available to U.K. licence fee payers,” said the statement.

Well, those customers just got cut off, right in the middle of the Olympics.

“Our action today will disrupt what we understand to be a significant and highly resourced operation to distribute pirated television on an industrial scale to tens of thousands of people across the globe,” said Detective Chief Inspector Peter Ratcliffe, head of the PIPCU. “Operations like this remain an integral part of protecting livelihoods supported by the entertainment industry and the law abiding public who pay for their channels with their hard earned cash.”

The operation was apparently spread between three residential buildings and one commercial address, TorrentFreak is reporting.

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The PIPCU release included two photos, one of a small array of satellite dishes, and another of the operation’s server room. PIPCU also seized a number of modified set-top boxes.

So one piracy service is shut down, but presumably others will pop up in its place. And as enforcement ramps up in the City of London, and the rest of the U.K., such sites will move to other countries. It’s going to take a lot more than raids like this to slow down piracy.