Just shy of eight months ago, police in the UK raided sellers of stream-capable piracy boxes. Two arrests were made and over one thousand streamboxes seized.

Working with police was the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT). Now working with the UK police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit, another joint-operation has seen an additional six streambox sellers arrested.

Following the execution of seven search warrants at as many locations in the north of England (Consett, Lanchester, Washington, Gateshead, Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Seamer), six people were arrested.

Police say that a 37 year-old man targeted in Sunderland was arrested on suspicion of distributing an unauthorized decoder, money laundering and making and/or supplying items for use in fraud.

The investigation, which was carried out with the assistance of Trading Standards and the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), led to the seizure of 42 “illegally modified” set-top boxes configured to receive subscription-only TV.

One of the common excuses trotted out by streambox MLM companies, is that there’s nothing inherently illegal about the streambox hardware they sell.

That much is true. However the combination of pre-loaded piracy software onto the boxes and the attached business opportunity, make them prime targets for law enforcement.

PIPCU’s Detective Chief Inspector Peter Ratcliffe (said), “We routinely seek to identify and disrupt those intent on making quick cash from piracy and will use every enforcement opportunity to bring them to justice.”

“Consumers need to be aware that these cheap pre-configured TV boxes are illegal,” says FACT Director General Kieron Sharp.

“They are stealing copyrighted content and starving UK businesses from revenue”.

In the US, MLM companies selling equivalent Android-based streamboxes are anything but cheap. Most companies sell their boxes for upwards of $300.

To date US authorities have not moved against sellers of piracy configured streamboxes. If and when they do, whether or not streambox MLM companies and their affiliates are targeted remains to be seen.

Personally, I think the whole streambox niche is a ticking time bomb…