28 April 2017

This week the European Court of Justice ruled that selling pre-configured multimedia devices allowing access to copyright infringing content is illegal.

The decision, which was announced on Wednesday 26 April, evolved from a Netherlands case involving anti-piracy group BEIN and a website claiming to sell ‘legal’ pre-configured IPTV devices, Filmspeler.

The ruling states, “The Court also finds that temporary acts of reproduction, on that multimedia player, of a copyright protected work obtained by streaming on a website belonging to a third party offering that work without the consent of the copyright holder, cannot be exempted from the right of reproduction.”

“Furthermore, acts of temporary reproduction, on the multimedia player in question, of copyright-protected works adversely affects the normal exploitation of those works and causes unreasonable prejudice to the legitimate interests of the copyright holders because it usually results in a diminution of the lawful transactions relating to those protected works.”

FACT Chief Executive, Kieron Sharp, welcomes the ruling, “The recent decision by the EU Court of Justice is another step forward in the right direction for the creative industries. It should send a strong and clear message to the public that this is not a grey area and that anyone using a device to illegally access film, TV, or sports, is breaking the law. Over the next six months there are several cases going to court regarding the selling of illegal streaming devices and now following this ruling, consideration can be given to investigating those buying and using such device. We will continue to work with The Premier League, Sky, BT Sport, Virgin Media and the film industry to crackdown on these illegal devices and whilst end users are not our primary target, they may get swept up in one of our operations and become part of the whole criminal investigation, which could lead to prosecution alongside the suppliers, retailers and importers.”

If you have information on film/TV/Sport piracy you wish to report, you can do so anonymously via Crimestoppers.

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