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LaLiga claims latest victory in battle against piracy

LaLiga, the organising body of Spanish club football, has claimed a victory against piracy of its audiovisual rights with prison sentences handed out to two individuals.

The rulings by magistrates’ courts in Archidona, Malaga and Madrid relate to sellers of illegally modified television set-top boxes. The two individuals were arrested as part of an anti-piracy operation carried out in March 2016 and have now been convicted of offences under article 286.1 of the Spanish Criminal Code.

They have been sentenced to four months in prison, as well as being fined and ordered to pay LaLiga compensation for the economic damages involved.

The operation in March 2016 followed a series of complaints filed by LaLiga in late 2015, which led to the arrest of seven people in Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga, Toledo and Cordoba on charges of selling pirated set-top boxes allowing viewers to illegally access pay-television platforms broadcasting LaLiga matches.

LaLiga said in a statement: “These sentences vindicate the concerted efforts of the various LaLiga departments working towards the institution's stated goal of ensuring fair play and legitimacy throughout the Spanish game. LaLiga will not let up on this score and intends to continue along this path in order to stamp out football-related piracy in all its forms in Spain.”

In June, LaLiga joined forces with the US government and a number of major sports leagues to draw up a “global coalition constitution” to tackle the issue of piracy of audiovisual content.

LaLiga said the global coalition constitution would also include other affected organisations, such as sponsors, and would seek to fight against pirate sites offering illegal access to sporting content.