Thai court imposes big penalty for illegal EPL match streaming

BANGKOK, 30 Nov 2019:

A Thai court yesterday fined a British citizen and a local to pay 17 million baht for illegal streaming of matches of the English Premier League (EPL) in different parts of Southeast Asia.

The court also confiscated 7 million baht in cash found in possession of the two – who pleaded guilty on various charges such as violating intellectual property rights and running a business without a license, the EPL said in a statement.

The defendants, who were also handed a suspended sentence of 3½ years in prison, were circulating pirated match streaming through the website in Thailand and other associated domains in Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia.

The ringleaders of the illegal network were arrested in May 2017 in Bangkok with another British, who is at large.

The Thai police arrested two British citizens in a series of large-scale coordinated raids at a residential address in Bangkok in May 2017. A Thai woman was apprehended later.

However, one of the arrested Britons skipped bail and a warrant has been issued for his arrest, as well as for multiple other suspects.

“This is one of the most substantial compensations for piracy-related crimes in Thailand and is a stark warning to anyone involved in the illegal supply of Premier League streams,” Premier League legal services director Kevin Plumb said.

“Attitudes towards, and acceptance of, these types of operators in Asia is changing, which is good news for fans who watch Premier League content through legitimate channels.”

Plumb said subscribing to services run by organized crime gangs meant that the viewers were “exposing themselves to the threat of fraud and malware”.

“We are committed to pursuing all those involved in providing illegal access to our content and are grateful to the Courts and the public prosecutor for acknowledging and supporting the importance of fighting piracy.”

The Premier League loses about US$1.2 million per pirated match and most of the offences are committed in China, Vietnam, Kenya, India, and Nigeria, according to a recent study, by sponsorship valuation firm GumGum Sports and digital piracy authority MUSO.