Prison sentences for broadcasting pirated football matches in commercial establishments will not exceed two years. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled that illegally broadcasting football matches can result in a minor offense related to consumers and the market, but not an offense against intellectual propriety, which, according to the Penal Code, could lead to up to four years imprisonment. The appeal of the Prosecutor’s Office was rejected by the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme. It maintains that owners of bars, restaurants, and other entertainment venues that offer football with pirate coders are guilty of a crime against intellectual propriety.

LaLiga filed a complaint against a Valencia businessman who owned three television stations that broadcast football without permission. A court in Valencia has already ruled out the commission of a criminal offense against intellectual property. This leaves it as a crime against consumers and the market. The maximum sentence is two years imprisonment. It is considered minor offense against the market and should be punished only with economic penalties. They must not go to prison unless they have a criminal history.

After the appeal by the Prosecutor’s Office, the court of Valencia sentence asked the Supreme Court to establish doctrine. It was the Plenary Session the Criminal Chamber that settled the dispute between a serious crime and a minor offense. According to the previous court ruling, football broadcasts were not included in the protection of intellectual property. The Supreme Court was however insistent by the prosecutor that retransmissions of football matches could be considered artistic productions.

Recent inspections by the National Police in 13 Spanish cities for illegal distribution of League match television signals led to the arrest of 166 bars. According to LaLiga, the economic loss to the owners of the audiovisual contents amounts to more that one million euros. This operation was conducted in Seville and Malaga, Cordoba. Zaragoza. Valladolid. Murcia. Palma de Mallorca. Gijon. Madrid. Vigo. Las Palmas. Bilbao.

Owners of the investigation catering establishments are accused in fraud of distributing audiovisual material fraudulently through decoders and microcontrollers that illegally accessed encrypted content broadcast by encrypted channels. They were able to offer the opportunity to watch sporting events through encrypted channels, which gave them an additional service that was not offered by other establishments. LaLiga stated that the economic loss to the owners of illegally distributed multimedia content is approximately 1,066,386 Euros. During the three previous seasons, the police headquarters repeatedly identified the establishments as illegal emitters.