Piracy in La Liga: 166 bars searched
Agents of the Spanish Policía Nacional (National Police) raided 166 hotel establishments as part of an operation aimed at the illicit broadcasting of football matches. Locals are accused of intellectual property crimes against markets and consumers.
It is estimated that the economic damage caused to rights holders by illegally distributed content amounts to more than €1,000,000.
The investigation began in January 2022 following the complaint filed by La Liga against establishments in various Spanish provinces which illegally broadcast the broadcast of matches of Spanish teams, without the authorization of the rights holders.
This operation is part of a global action against piracy which has also affected 1,200 other public establishments, which have been the subject of various legal proceedings. Establishments reported to the police headquarters have been repeatedly identified as illegal broadcasters over the past three seasons.
During the investigation, the agents carried out the appropriate checks on the commercial establishments which broadcast the football matches of the LaLiga Santander, LaLiga SmartBank and UEFA Champions League competitions. After various investigations, it was confirmed that 166 establishments from different Spanish cities – Seville, Malaga, Cordoba, Zaragoza, Valladolid, Murcia, Palma de Mallorca, Gijón, Madrid, Vigo, Las Palmas, Bilbao and Barcelona – were involved in the screening fraudulent. football matches.
Based on this, an operation was launched to carry out a coordinated inspection of all commercial establishments investigated during one of the La Liga Santander matchdays. As a result, all of the infrastructure that allowed for the illegal viewing of games was dismantled, with those responsible identified and the illegal service they were providing shut down.
The owners of the establishments are accused of a crime against intellectual property and against the market and the consumers as allegedly responsible for the fraudulent distribution of the audiovisual content, by illegally accessing the protected content broadcast on encrypted channels via decoders.
As a result, they obtained a fraudulent economic advantage since they offered the possibility of watching sporting events, only available through encrypted channels that allowed them an additional service that other establishments did not offer.