The Spabish Supreme Court ruled that the broadcasting of football matches in bars or restaurants without paying the corresponding fee to LaLiga is not an Intellectual Property (IP) crime (Article 270(1) of the Spanish Penal Code), but instead a market and consumer crime (Article 286(4) of the Spanish Penal Code).
The judge ruled that under the Criminal Law principle of typicity, given that a football game as such cannot qualify as a ‘literary, artistic or scientific work’, it is particularly difficult to consider it as a ‘performance’ of such work. The ruling clarified the guidelines to delimit the scope of an IP crime under that provision (Article 270(1) of the Spanish Penal Code) and confirmed this had been a minor crime against the market and consumers.
After the initial ruling of the Criminal court, an appeal was filed by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, which was joined by the National Professional Football League, and judgment no. 347/21 was handed down by the Fourth Section of the Valencia Provincial Court on 7 June 2021, dismissing the appeals. A cassation appeal was filed by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, which was also joined by the National Professional Football League, which was referred to this Second Chamber of the Supreme Court.
The defendant was represented by Valencian law firm Salvatierra Albogados, with partner Pedro Barceló Alegre.