£45k fine for illegal Sky Sports distribution

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A man who infringed Sky’s broadcast copyright by streaming Sky Sports content to the public has been forced to pay £45,000 (€51,500) in fines and damages.

Between March 3rd  2017 and April 1st 2017, Wasaq Rasheed shared streams from (the then) Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2. These streams were found on IPTVdonations.com, an illegally-run IPTV subscription service.

Rasheed’s defence against the claim was that he had “inadvertently” created the streams whilst trying to access Sky content online for free – i.e., he alleged that he did not intend to infringe Sky’s copyright.

However, the judge concluded that lack of intention is not a defence against copyright infringement and in the eyes of the law, has no legal merit.

Rasheed did not attend his hearing in March 2018 and did not provide explanation. During the hearing, it was concluded that Rasheed had no defence and he was found guilty for infringing Sky’s copyrighted content.

“This result is an excellent example of just how serious an issue illegal streaming is,” declared. Kieron Sharp, CEO of UK intellectual property protection organisation FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft). “This case in particular highlights that ignorance is not a defence and digital piracy is not a grey area. If you are accessing content for free that you’d usually pay for, or you’re creating the streams online to allow others to do so, you are breaking the law.”

“Sharing copyright protected content can be an expensive mistake – a mistake that has cost Mr Rasheed £45,000 in legal fees. Others have also been similarly penalised,” noted Neil Parkes, Media & Intellectual Property Partner at law firm Foot Anstey. “It is illegal to stream content that others pay for. Ignorance of the law is not a defence.”


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