Premier League claims piracy win in Thailand

Football’s English Premier League has claimed another win in the fight against piracy of its content after one Briton and a Thai national pleaded guilty to infringing its copyright in Thailand.

The pair have paid damages totalling THB15m (€450,000/$495,000), with almost THB7m in funds having been seized and forfeited to the State. They have also been ordered to pay over THB3m and handed a total of three-and-a-half years’ suspended prison sentences related to running an illegal operation.

The THB15m fee is believed to be one of the highest damage compensations ever paid in Thailand for copyright infringement.

The various websites managed by the pair were operated from Bangkok under a banner of Expat.tv and affiliated domains. The websites provided streams of matches across southeast Asia, including Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia.

Illegal streaming devices, preloaded with apps enabling pirate broadcasts of Premier League matches, were also sold.

Kevin Plumb, director of legal services for the Premier League, 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.

“Those who don’t should be aware that subscribing to services run by organised crime gangs means they risk, not just the content disappearing when the service gets disrupted by legal action, but also exposing themselves to the threat of fraud and malware.”

The news comes after the Premier League announced in October that an electronics retailer in Singapore was convicted of selling illegal streaming devices.

Synnex Trading provided illegal broadcasts of the Premier League and other entertainment content. The company and its director Jia Xiaofeng were found guilty of four criminal charges of copyright infringement.