Europol, with the support of the Premier League and Spain’s La Liga, as well as the country’s police authority, has shut down one of the “world’s biggest” sport streaming piracy activities.
More than 100 million people downloaded the Mobdro software, which was linked to websites and portals in Spain and Portugal, as well as servers in Czechia, and allowed them to watch sports content on their smartphones, tablets, and other devices without having to pay a subscription fee.
The Premier League, the Spanish Football League (La Liga Espanola de Ftbol), the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, and the Football Association Pretoria all complained to the Spanish National Police in October 2018 about a mobile app that was allegedly uploading news channels and other video material.
€5 million in illicit gains
Investigators believe Mobdro earned more than €5 million in illicit gains by selling user details to a botnet-related company and selling advertisements.
In a statement released on Thursday, the Premier League said: “The world’s largest infringing streaming app has ceased all operations after a major investigation and criminal referral by the Premier League and the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) resulted in law enforcement action by Spanish police and Europol.
“Mobdro illegally made available a large catalogue of live TV and video content from around the world, including sports, for use on smart TVs, smartphones, tablets and illicit streaming devices.
“The app also included dedicated sports, gaming, music, podcasts and adult channels, as well as several custom VOD channels airing TV series and movies in a 24/7 format.”
20 network domains and servers shut down
Four court orders to shut down domains were given as part of the probe, 20 network domains and servers were blocked, and four arrests (three in Spain and one in Andorra) were made in connection with the case, according to Europol.
The Premier League’s Director of Legal Services, Kevin Plumb, added that copyright enforcement is “hugely important” to the league and its media partners, as well as “the potential health of English football.”