Pirate streaming boxes remain widely appealing to a broad audience. At a fraction of the normal costs, they open the door to all sorts of broadcasts, including football matches.
On the sports side, BeoutQ has shown to be is a thorn in the side of many rightsholders. It launched in 2017 and ever since various parties have tried to stop it’s infringing activity.
While BeoutQ remains widely available today, the Premier League can chalk up a new victory with the conviction of a London seller of streaming boxes. The devices in question offered access to BeoutQ as well as several other illegal channels, such as unauthorized rebroadcast of Sky.
The conviction, handed down by the City of London Magistrates’ Court this week, follows a joint investigation from the Premier League and FACT. The Premier League subsequently prosecuted the 39-year-old seller, Ammar Al-Silawi, with success.
Following a trial earlier this month, Mr. Al-Silawi received a sentence of 300 hours of unpaid community service. In addition, the vendor is required to pay the Premier League’s legal costs.
The sentencing is unique, according to the Premier League. In the UK, it’s the first time that selling pirate set-top boxes was deemed to be an act of communicating infringing copies of copyright works to the public. This is in line with the Filmspeler judgment from the European Court of Justice.
“The law is very clear that the sale of ISDs is illegal and it is an issue taken very seriously by both the police and the courts,” says Kevin Plumb, Premier League Director of Legal Services.
“We will continue to investigate and pursue all suppliers of illegal streaming services, regardless of the size or scale of their operation, to protect the intellectual property that enables the Premier League to be so competitive and compelling.”
FACT is equally pleased with the outcome and Chief Executive Kieron Sharp notes that it serves as a stark warning to other vendors.
“The message is now unequivocal; if you sell a device that provides access to content that is not licensed or owned by you, you will face a criminal conviction. Illicit retailers should be aware of the Court’s view that ignoring a cease and desist notice was a clear aggravating factor in this case,” Sharp says.
While the rightsholders certainly have something to be pleased about, the community order sentence pales in comparison with earlier pirate streaming vendor convictions, which resulted in multi-year prison sentences.