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Premier League claims landmark legal win in battle against beoutQ

Adama Traore of Wolverhampton Wanderers celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the Premier League match against Manchester City at Etihad Stadium (by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

The Premier League has claimed a first in the ongoing battle against beoutQ with the conviction of a London-based retailer for selling illegal streaming devices (ISDs) giving access to the pirate broadcasting service, amongst other content.

Ammar Al-Silawi was found guilty on two charges of copyright infringement and two charges of fraud at the City of London Magistrates’ Court, having been found to sell ISDs which provided unlawful access to a number of channels from a shop in the capital.

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, with the assistance of the Metropolitan Police.

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

BeoutQ, whose channels were made available on the ISDs sold by Al-Silawi, has been illegally providing access to Premier League and other sports content since its launch in 2017. The Premier League is one of a number of major sports bodies that have been campaigning against beoutQ. It was last month one of eight organisations to jointly publish a report which they said proved “beoutQ’s pirate broadcasts have been transmitted using satellite infrastructure owned and operated by Arabsat”.

The Al-Silawi case forms part of the Premier League’s broader strategy to tackle pirate suppliers at all levels. As recently as July, FACT investigators worked with the Premier League and UK law enforcement agencies to visit 16 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: “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.”