The counties being targeted by legal enforcement notices include Mayo, Limerick, Meath, Offaly, Dublin, Wexford, Cork, Wicklow, Tipperary, Kilkenny, Kildare and Donegal.
A new crackdown on illegal TV streaming networks, sometimes accessed on so-called ‘dodgy boxes’, is taking place across the country, according to an industry body set up to fight copyright infringement.
A number of legal warnings have been sent to “individuals” involved in “providing illegal access to premium TV content”, including from Sky and the Premier League.
The counties being targeted are Mayo, Limerick, Meath, Offaly, Dublin, Wexford, Cork, Wicklow, Tipperary, Kilkenny, Kildare and Donegal.
The main targets are a number of online portals and services that stream access to premium TV and sports content, often selling ads around that content.
‘Dodgy boxes’ typically bypass pay-TV controls, giving illegal access to movies, sport and other pay-TV services. Despite repeated warnings of illegality, they are still sold by some small retailers.
“Illegal IPTV service providers are a significant problem in Ireland,” said Kieron Sharp, CEO of the Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact).
“This is criminal activity, and those involved are not concerned about the risks their streams pose to consumers.”
Fact claims accessing content from illegal providers “poses serious risks to consumers”. Research carried out by Dynata in 2022, it says, showed that almost half of respondents who illegally stream say they, or someone they know, has been a victim of scams, ID theft, fraud or data loss.
However, a spokesperson for Fact said the current enforcement focus was on the providers, rather than people who bought dodgy boxes to try to save money.
Earlier this year, the industry group joined police in visiting homes across the UK, serving notices to individuals to cease illegal streaming activities immediately “and informing users of the associated risks, including criminal prosecution”, according to a spokesperson for the group.
Earlier this month, City of London Police led a crackdown on illegal streaming networks, resulting in arrests in Scotland and London.
“The action has begun to have an effect with a number of illegal streaming services already taken down,” said a Fact spokesperson. “It is expected more disruption will ensue.”