26 Jan 2013 00:40

He began streaming live TV coverage of games using a satellite dish and seven computers at his home when he was just 16

Case: Reading Crown Court Case: Reading Crown Court

PA

A young computer whizz who made thousands of pounds by illegally broadcasting Premier League football matches online has avoided jail.

Gary Goodger began streaming live TV coverage of games using a satellite dish and seven computers at his home when he was just 16.

He made tens of thousands of pounds through freelivefooty.com, which he launched in 2005.

Thousands of viewers worldwide are believed to have signed up for the cheap service.

They paid low subscription fees that undercut official provider Sky.

Goodger's accomplice Jack Bannister allowed his Paypal account to be used to process some of the money.

Both were convicted by a jury after a trial at Reading crown court, Berkshire.

Sentencing yesterday, Judge John Reddihough told Goodger: "Companies in this country, such as the broadcasters in this, and the Premier League, are entitled to their copyright and entitled not to have other people using it illegally, as you did.

"The trouble is that ultimately in cases like this it will be the consumer that ends up paying because if there are less people using it then the prices have to go up."

Detective Constable Lisa Child, from Thames Valley Police, said: "Goodger is believed to have made tens of thousands of pounds through illegally streaming football matches to subscribers to his website, although no exact figure is available due to the complexity of the investigation."

Now a mechanic, Goodger, 24, of Lower Earley, Berkshire, was convicted of communicating a copyrighted work to the public.

He was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work, pay £1,750 for prosecution costs and given a six-month prison sentence suspended for two years.

Bannister, 23, of Burnley, Lancashire, was convicted of transferring criminal property.

He must carry out 140 hours of unpaid work and pay £500 costs.

* How our sister website the Reading Post is reporting the story .

Filed under: Euro 2012

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