A judgment has been obtained in the High Court of England and Wales against a Sky customer who had been streaming Sky Sports content illegally online.
Yusuf Mohammed, of Bristol in the west of England, has been ordered to pay legal costs of over £16,000 (€17,945), and to disclose details about the money he made and people he colluded with. As well as the costs bill, Mohammed will have to pay Sky damages.
“This is the latest action taken in the ongoing crackdown on illegal digital piracy,” noted Kieron Sharp, CEO of UK intellectual property protection organisation FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft). “It should now be crystal clear to anyone thinking of pirating or watching a pirated stream that this is not a grey area and that it is illegal.”
In a similar recent case, an individual admitted guilt, provided a written apology to Sky and agreed to pay substantial legal costs for sharing the Joshua vs Klitschko fight on Facebook – the stream was viewed by around 600,000 people.
“This should serve as a warning to others – whether it’s a copyright infringing website, a ‘fully-loaded’ streaming device or an illegal stream on social media, it is still piracy and breaking the law,” added Sharp.
The cases follow the landmark cases involving Brian Thompson and Julian Allen, who were sentenced for selling illicit streaming devices pre-configured to allow illegal access to premium content. Allen was handed a 21-month suspended sentence and Thompson an 18-month suspended sentence.
The judge stated “Not only have the courts in this country ruled as such, but Europe also has ruled that such devices are illegal. Ignorance of the law is no excuse and indeed you’ve had the good sense to plead guilty. The temptation for anyone buying these things is they save a good deal of money. Those who lawfully have to pay £50 or more to Sky or BT subscriptions I think are done a disservice by people like you and those who buy these devices in an attempt to get around their obligation to pay lawfully for access to this material. As has been rightly said, it isn’t a victimless crime. It has knock-on effects. The fact that these are global companies who are the losers eventually does not mean that these are trivial offences or ones which have no consequences.”
“If anyone was under any illusion as to whether such devices as these, fully loaded Kodi boxes, were illegal or not, they can no longer be in any such doubt.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that in all the circumstances an immediate custodial sentence is not called for. But as a warning to others in future, they may not be so lucky.”
In July 2017 a pirate app store operator was jailed for criminal copyright infringement and sentenced to 16 months in prison, while in March, the English Premier League secured a critical court order to tackle rights-infringing video streams in the UK.