LaLiga continues to win the fight against piracy in the courtroom and through technology
LaLiga continues to win the fight against piracy in the courtroom and through technology
  • Several recent legal victories have ratified LaLiga’s intellectual property rights in Spain’s Criminal Code.
  • Given that piracy causes losses of more than 60,000 million euros and 400,000 jobs in Europe every year, it is important that LaLiga defends its rights and the rights of its member clubs via technology and the law.

LaLiga has long been at the forefront of the fight against piracy, protecting the intellectual property rights of the organisation and all of its member clubs. Several recent court rulings have strengthened LaLiga’s position in the anti-piracy battle, such as the removal of an illegal streaming app from the Google Play store or the blocking of Roja Directa in Denmark.

Furthermore, a court ruling in Valencia that handed down a 14 months’ prison sentence to the administrator of two illegal streaming websites was especially important because it concluded that the rights protected by article 270.2 of Spain’s Criminal Code are broader than those provided for in article 270.1. In other words, this was a ratification of LaLiga’s intellectual property rights in the Criminal Code and one of the many legal victories that LaLiga has been a part of during its mission to tackle piracy nationally and internationally.


These court rulings reinforce LaLiga’s position in protecting the audiovisual content that legitimately belongs to the clubs, whose audiovisual income is one of their main assets and fundamental to sustaining the professional football industry, which employs 185,000 people in Spain, generates 1.37% of GDP and contributes 4,100 million euros to Spanish society through taxes.

On a European level, piracy has been estimated to cause losses of more than 60,000 million euros and more than 400,000 jobs in Europe every year, according to the European Union Intellectual Property Office.

Given that the football industry employs so many, it is essential for LaLiga to stand up for its intellectual property rights and to battle against this threat that puts the entire industry at risk. As Guillermo Rodríguez, the director of anti-piracy operations at LaLiga Content Protection, said at the EFE Sport Business Days Forum: “Piracy is a global problem that affects all levels of society, from the competitions that own the rights to society as a whole through the taxes that are not paid, the criminal activities that are related to piracy and the impact that the job losses have.”


Winning the anti-piracy fight via technology and the law

LaLiga has invested in resources to take on piracy and there are more than 50 people working for LaLiga Content Protection, in labs based in Madrid and Mexico.

There are several different elements to LaLiga’s anti-piracy strategy, with legal being an important part of it. Through LaLiga’s thorough understanding of anti-piracy laws, several blocking orders have been issued over the years.

Another key arm of the strategy is technology, with several in-house tools having been rolled out by LaLiga Tech, the subsidiary that brings together the technological solutions developed by LaLiga. These tools streamline the detection and reporting of illegal behaviour and include Marauder (which detects content on social media platforms, apps and websites), Lumière (which searches for pirate servers that host protected content) and Blackhole (which identifies IPTV television servers).


In the 2021/22 season alone, LaLiga Tech was able to remove more than 1,065,000 videos on YouTube, more than 368,000 videos on other social networks, more than 75,800 websites from Google’s search results and more than 820 mobile applications that were used to view pirated content.

Given how important the issue of piracy is, LaLiga Tech even makes these tools available to other sporting competitions and federations, such as the Jupiler Pro League, the Royal Belgian Football Federation and the World Padel Tour, as well as rights holders such as Dorna Sports, Millicom or Sky Mexico. LaLiga Tech has also provided anti-piracy support to Spain’s Ministry of Culture and the Spanish Centre for Reprographic Rights (CEDRO).

Through technology and the courts, as well as effective communication campaigns, joining forces with specialised international coalitions and collaboration with the police, LaLiga has overseen several victories in the anti-piracy battle over the years. Going forward, LaLiga will continue to fight for its rights and continue to work with other leagues, federations and institutions to win this important battle.

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