Spain’s LaLiga is ending 2022 with the satisfaction of having achieved important legal successes in the field of the fight against piracy and the protection of the audiovisual content of its clubs, among which three resolutions of important relevance to its interests stand out.
In a statement, it says that these judicial resolutions reinforce LaLiga’s position in the protection of the legitimate audiovisual content belonging to the clubs, whose audiovisual income is one of its main assets, as well as fundamental to sustaining the professional football industry, which employs 185,000 people in Spain. generating1.37% of GDP and contributing €4.1 billion to Spanish society through its taxes.
Ratification of Intellectual Property Rights
On December 23, 2022, the 6th Criminal Court of Valencia handed down a sentence condemning the administrator of the websites www.verdirectotv.com and www.verdirectotvnet.tv to a total of 14 months imprisonment for facilitating illegal access to LaLiga matches through these websites by providing links.
According to LaLiga, thissentence is of enormous importance for the fight against LaLiga piracy since the aforementioned resolution, the first handed down after the Supreme Court Judgment of June 2, 2022, concludes that the rights subject to protection by article 270.2 of the Criminal Code are broader than those provided for in article 270.1, as well as that the conduct typified by 270. and analyzed by the Supreme Court has nothing to do with that provided for in article 270.2, which refers to facilitating internet access to “works or benefits subject to intellectual property”, among which without a doubt are the LaLiga matches, without any reference to their having to be “of an artistic, scientific or literary nature”.
Therefore, the illegal broadcast of LaLiga matches over the internet carries a prison sentence of 6 months to 4 years, and can reach 6 years in prison in cases where conduct is aggravated.
Following legal proceedings initiated by LaLiga together with the Danish association Rettigheds Alliancen, the Frederiksberg court issued a decision on December 13, 2022, to confirm the blocking of the website rojadirecta.me in Denmark. In the ruling, the court declares that LaLiga broadcasts are the expression of free, creative and personal choices, therefore, original creations that enjoy copyright protection. The court considers that by making LaLiga broadcasts available to the public on the “rojadirecta” website, Puerto 80 Projects SLU has infringed LaLiga’s copyright, and must therefore accept the blocking of the “rojadirecta” website in Denmark .
Finally, on December 22, 2022, the 53rd Preliminary Examining Court of Madrid issued an order -after a positive report from the Public Prosecutor’s Office – whereby, considering the precautionary measures requested by LaLiga, it agreed to remove the popular IPTV streaming application “IPTV Smarters Pro” from the Google Play store, which once installed allowed -according to the conclusions of a UDEV report- the viewing of premium television channels in which LaLiga matches were broadcast among other content.
This resolution joins the one issued on April 27, 2022 by the Investigating Court No. 1 of Cieza ordering both Google and Huawei to withdraw the popular player application “newPlay” from their Stores for illegally giving access to LaLiga matches.