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beoutQ seller convicted of fraud and copyright offences

4 Oct 2019
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London retailer convicted for selling illegal streaming devices that gave access to unauthorised Premier League broadcasts

A retailer in London has been convicted at the City of London Magistrates' Court for selling illegal streaming devices (ISDs) which gave access to unauthorised Premier League broadcasts and other content.

Mr Ammar Al-Silawi, 39, was found guilty on two charges of copyright and two charges of fraud, having been found to sell ISDs which provided unlawful access to a number of channels, including those of the pirate service beoutQ, from a shop on Edgware Road, London, W2.

The trial took place on Thursday, 12 September, with sentencing heard at Westminster Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

Mr Al-Silawi received the maximum 300 hours of unpaid community service and was ordered to pay legal costs to the Premier League.

The defendant was also warned that failure to comply with the community order in any way would result in an immediate custodial sentence.

The Premier League prosecuted the case following an investigation conducted in conjunction with the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), with the assistance of the Metropolitan Police.

This is the first case of its kind, with the Premier League successfully arguing that in selling the set-top boxes, Mr Al-Silawi was guilty of the offence of communicating infringing copies of copyright works to the public.

The pirate service beoutQ, whose channels were made available on the ISDs sold by Mr Al-Silawi, has been illegally providing access to Premier League and other sports content since its launch in 2017.

In addition to working collectively with other footballing bodies to combat the beoutQ service, the Premier League is committed to taking action against resellers of the pirate service such as Mr Al-Silawi.

This case forms part of the Premier League’s broader strategy to tackle pirate suppliers of all levels.

As recently as July, for example, FACT investigators worked with the Premier League and UK law enforcement agencies to visit sixteen premises across the UK to serve notices to individuals suspected of supplying illegal sports streaming content.

Premier League Director of Legal Services Kevin Plumb said: "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.

"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.

"Addressing the issues created by the unprecedented beoutQ situation remains a key priority of the Premier League and we will work tirelessly to support beIN Sports, as well as all other broadcasters and fans who acquire our content legitimately." 

Kieron Sharp, FACT Chief Executive added: "We are working with our members, including the Premier League, to remove sellers of illegal devices from the market and bring them to justice and we have had considerable success.

"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."

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