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Sellers of illegal streaming Premiership Football devices hit with fines

By Chris Dawson February 15, 2018 - 10:24 am

There’s no place to hide on the Internet as two sellers of illegal streaming media devices just found out with fines of £18,000 and £8,000. They’ve also naturally been instructed to cease trading in the devices.

Both sellers were selling devices, with pirate subscriptions enabling the illegal streaming of Premiership Football matches, on either marketplaces or social media sites reports the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT). It should be noted that the main marketplaces and social media sites have all banned the sale of ‘jailbroken’ or ‘fully loaded’ Kodi style streaming media devices.

These actions are part of a wide-ranging copyright protection programme that has included the League successfully obtaining a High Court blocking order preventing illegal streams being broadcast in the UK, working with Spanish authorities to shut-down illegal Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and action in the UK, Thailand, and Singapore against sellers of illicit streaming devices that provided access to illegal broadcasts of Premier League football.

In the grand scheme of things these latest two fines are small fry, the League also recently won a landmark action in the Dutch Courts requiring illegal hosting provider Ecatel to take down all Premier League material or face fines of up to €1.5m. On a personal level however the fines are probably crippling as the sellers will doubtless have been living off their sales and not made their fortunes selling online.

“This case shows there are serious consequences for sellers of pre-loaded boxes and is a warning for anyone who thinks they might get away with this type of activity. The Premier League is currently engaged in a comprehensive copyright protection programme that includes targeting and taking action against sellers of pre-loaded devices, and any ISPs or hosts that facilitate the broadcast of pirated Premier League content.”
– Premier League Director of Legal Services, Kevin Plumb

It should sound obvious that if you sell on marketplaces or social media that there is always going to be an electronic trail that leads back to you, whether you’re selling the ability to stream copyright content or if you’re infringing copyright in other ways (for instance using Disney images on personalised merchandise). What you may have got away with selling on local markets unless a vigilant trading standards office paid a visit is much more visible online. It not only harms the rights owner, but also disadvantages those sellers who pay the rights holders a fee or can’t afford to licence the rights.

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