• An absolute expert in the private prosecution of criminal intellectual property infringement, Ari Alibhai is the go-to barrister in this niche, highly specialist, practice area.

    Private Prosecutions

    Ari specialises in the private prosecution of criminal intellectual property infringement. He acts for multinational corporate clients in music, film, sport and broadcast media, including the Football Association Premier League, FACT Sky and BT Sport. He is at the forefront of ground-breaking and precedent setting cases, having acted in over 75 private prosecutions with an increasing focus on broadcast piracy and fraud and is a true trailblazer in this field. He has used his experience to train and advise the National Trading Standards Service, the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland and the Crown Prosecution Service in the prosecution of intellectual property crime.

    Ari has unique experience building and developing private prosecution systems for rights' holders and broadcasters defrauded through piracy, and has done so for many clients including the British Recorded Music Industry, Virgin Media Ltd, FACT, and the Premier League.

    In addition to his private prosecution expertise, Ari also specialises in defending in complex fraud and intellectual property infringement, with a particular focus on companies and individuals facing prosecution by Trading Standards Services.

    Reviews

    Chambers UK 2021: Financial Crime: Private Prosecutions - Spotlight; Media & Entertainment – Band 3

    Legal 500 2022: Media and Entertainment (Including Art and Cultural Property) – Tier 4

    'Always provides clear, timely and invariably accurate advice. Is a true unrivaled expert in their field and has become a vital advisor in all our UK criminal work. Forms very coherent arguments and is exceptional at managing cases.' Legal 500 Media and Entertainment (2022)

    'He's excellent and quickly becoming the go-to member of the Bar for the criminal aspects of media content piracy.' Chambers UK Media & Entertainment (2021)

    'He is incredibly responsive and gives very clear and accurate advice. He takes the time to understand the practicalities and priorities of the business.' Chambers UK Financial Crime: Private Prosecutions (2021)

    'Incredibly responsive and gives very clear and invariably accurate advice.' Legal 500 Media & Entertainment (2021)

    ‘He's very user-friendly and his written work and client-handling skills are really second to none.’ Chambers UK Media & Entertainment (2020)

    ‘He is a hardworking barrister with excellent knowledge and flexibility.’ Legal 500 Media and Entertainment (2020)

    ‘He is professional and very experienced. His strength is his determination to win every case based on the evidence presented to him and his dedication to the case throughout its life cycle.’ Chambers UK Media and Entertainment (2019)

    ‘He is known for private prosecution of criminal IP infringement.’ Legal 500 Media and Entertainment (2018)

    ‘He's very clever and committed, and checks out every single angle of the case.’ Chambers UK Media and Entertainment (2018)

    ‘Unrivalled technical knowledge of the issues combined with great commercial awareness.’ Legal 500 Media and Entertainment (2017)

    ‘An absolute expert in the field of intellectual property fraud.’ Legal 500 Media and Entertainment (2016)

    ‘A very hard worker who is totally dedicated to his cases.’ Legal 500 Media and Entertainment (2015)

    Education

    • 2003-04 Senior Award Gray’s Inn
    • 2002-03 Bedingfield Scholar, Gray’s Inn
    • 2001-02 David Karmel award, Gray’s Inn

    Recent Cases

    News

    Articles

    • 10th Mar 2021

      A Podcast: The Mechanics, Advantages and Potential Pitfalls of Private ProsecutionsNick Corsellis QC and Ari Alibhai, senior members of QEB’s private prosecution practice group, discuss the mechanics, advantages and potential pitfalls of private pro...

    • New route to conviction against sellers of pre-loaded equipment (Stichting Brein v Jack Frederik Wullems)

      IP & IT analysis: Ari Alibhai discusses the Court of Justice's judgment in Stichting Brein.

      View Article

    • Ari Alibhai co-authors Private Prosecution Practice Note for Lexis Nexis

      QEB Hollis Whiteman member Ari Alibhai, private prosecution specialist, collaborated with solicitor David Northfield of Fieldfisher LLP to produce a Practice Note, Protecting Intellectual Property through Private Prosecutions for legal publisher Lexis Nexis PSL series.  

      View Article

  • Private Prosecutions

    Commercially astute with unrivalled experience and technical knowledge of private prosecutions of criminal copyright infringement offences; Ari Alibhai is uniquely experienced and the first choice for major multi-national corporates.

    Overview 

    Ari specialises in the private prosecution of criminal intellectual property infringement.  He acts for multinational corporate clients in music, film, sport and broadcast media, including the Football Association Premier League, FACT Sky and BT Sport. He is at the forefront of ground-breaking and precedent setting cases, having acted in over 75 private prosecutions with an increasing focus on broadcast piracy and fraud and is a true trailblazer in this field. He has used his experience to train and advise the National Trading Standards Service, the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland and the Crown Prosecution Service in the prosecution of intellectual property crime. 

    Ari has unique experience building and developing private prosecution systems for rights' holders and broadcasters defrauded through piracy, and has done so for many clients including the British Recorded Music Industry, Virgin Media Ltd, FACT, and the Premier League. 

    In addition to his private prosecution expertise, Ari also specialises in defending in complex fraud and intellectual property infringement, with a particular focus on companies and individuals facing prosecution by Trading Standards Services.

    Experience 

    Highly regarded by industry bodies for his expertise in private prosecutions of criminal copyright infringement offences, Ari Alibhai’s knowledge, experience and skill in the field are unrivalled.

    He has been involved in almost every major IP related private prosecution brought within this jurisdiction. In December 2016 Ari successfully prosecuted R v O’Reilly & O’Leary, the first ever prosecution concerning the supplier of an illicit streaming system, whose operators defrauded UK and international broadcasters. Since 2016, Ari has privately prosecuted almost every major illicit streaming case brought within the jurisdiction, including, in 2019 R v King, & others a £6 million pound fraud perpetrated by an organised crime group. Ari is currently privately prosecuting 7 defendants in the largest illicit streaming prosecution ever brought before a UK court, and later this year will be prosecuting the first ever case concerning an app developer whose app is alleged to have enabled broadcast and film piracy.

    Prior to the development and proliferation of illicit streaming from 2016, Ari focused on television and film piracy. One example of such was the private prosecution of R v Sohail Rafiq and others, a hacking group specialising in obtaining and releasing copies of major motion pictures before their cinema release, the first such prosecution outside the US.

    Ari also has an extensive paper/advisory practice including in 2020 being instructed to advise the Premier League on the proposed takeover of Newcastle FC by a Saudi Arabian-backed consortium, and advising various broadcasters and rights' holders with reference to inquiries and consultations initiated by the Intellectual Property Office, the Justice Select Committee and the Law Commission.

    In Northern lreland, Ari was called to the Bar following his instruction by the DPP for Northern lreland to prosecute the film copyright case R v Hugh Reid and Marcus Lewis. He subsequently was instructed by the DPP to prosecute R v Paul Mahoney who was convicted of operating a major film piracy website and also appeared for the prosecution in the Court of Appeal of Northern lreland in Mahoney's unsuccessful appeal.

    Ari specialises in designing and implementing private prosecution systems to reduce exposure to intellectual property theft, and has instituted such systems for clients including Virgin Media, FACT and the Premier League. He chairs Chambers' private prosecution working group, having conducted more than 75 such cases and trained investigators at the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), British Recorded Music Industry and SKY.

    He is meticulous in his approach, expert in his knowledge and unfailing in his commitment to the case.  His work is focused, tactical, creative and his advocacy commanding.  He is a charming team member and listens as much as he leads. Ari is one of very few genuine specialist private prosecutors at the Bar. 

    Notable Cases

    R -v- Gould & others (current)
    The private prosecution of what is alleged to have been the largest illicit streaming service in the world. 
     
    R -v- Millington (current)
    The private prosecution of an app developer for the alleged creation and distribution of a pirate app.
     
    R -v- King & others (2019)
    The private prosecution of an organised crime group alleged to have committed a £6 million broadcast fraud over a period of almost 10 years. The defendants received sentences totalling 17 years following conviction. 
     
    R -v- Dodds and Richards (2018)
    The private prosecution of the supplier of illegal television systems into public houses which allowed illicit access to SKY and BT Sport's broadcasts. The defendants were sentenced to a total of 9 years' imprisonment and ordered to pay over £500,000 following a contested confiscation hearing. 
     

    R -v- Sohail Rafiq, Reece Baker, Graham Reid and Ben Cooper (2015) 
    Five receive prison sentences in private prosecution for illegal film distribution.

    R -v- Mahoney (2015) 
    A Northern Ireland man was sentenced to 4 years in prison at Londonderry Crown Court last week for running an internet piracy scam.

    Helidon Vuciterni (2014) 
    David Groome and Ari Alibhai acted for the Premier League in the successful prosecution today of Helidon Vuciterni.

    Dancing Jesus (aka: Kane Robinson -&- Richard Graham) (2014) 
    Private Prosecution success against Dancing Jesus website

    R -v- Danks (Philip) (2014) 
    Philip Danks, ringleader of a sophisticated online and filming piracy network, was sentenced to 33 months in prison at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

    R -v- Reid & Lewis - Araditracker (2013) 
    Instructed by Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland to prosecute in the alleged operation of the film torrent site Araditracker.

    R -v- Zinga (Munaf) (2013) 
    Private Prosecution (on behalf of Virgin Media Ltd) of importer and wholesaler of devices designed to defraud Virgin Media.

    R -v- Helidon Vuciterni (2013) 
    Private Prosecution (on behalf of FAPL) of defendant for alleged operation of a card-sharing network.

    R v Rayyonics Ltd (2012) 
    Illicit set-top box supplier. Rayyonics LTD designed, manufactured and imported the Eurovox series of television set-top-boxes, which, when programmed, enabled access to the entire Virgin Media subscription television service without payment. Zinga sold approximately 400,000 set-top-boxes in a conspiracy spanning some 3 years. The judge Ordered a £8.7 million confiscation order. 

    R v Vickerman (Anton) (2012) 
    Private Prosecution (on behalf of Federation Against Copyright Theft) of the most popular pirate film indexing site in the world.

    Reviews

    Chambers UK 2021: Financial Crime: Private Prosecutions - Spotlight; Media & Entertainment – Band 3

    Legal 500 2022: Media and Entertainment (Including Art and Cultural Property) – Tier 4

    'Always provides clear, timely and invariably accurate advice. Is a true unrivaled expert in their field and has become a vital advisor in all our UK criminal work. Forms very coherent arguments and is exceptional at managing cases.' Legal 500 Media and Entertainment (2022)

    'He's excellent and quickly becoming the go-to member of the Bar for the criminal aspects of media content piracy.' Chambers UK Media & Entertainment (2021)

    'He is incredibly responsive and gives very clear and accurate advice. He takes the time to understand the practicalities and priorities of the business.' Chambers UK Financial Crime: Private Prosecutions (2021)

    'Incredibly responsive and gives very clear and invariably accurate advice.' Legal 500 Media & Entertainment (2021)

    ‘He's very user-friendly and his written work and client-handling skills are really second to none.’ Chambers UK Media & Entertainment (2020)

    ‘He is a hardworking barrister with excellent knowledge and flexibility.’ Legal 500 Media and Entertainment (2020)

    ‘He is professional and very experienced. His strength is his determination to win every case based on the evidence presented to him and his dedication to the case throughout its life cycle.’ Chambers UK Media and Entertainment (2019)

    ‘He is known for private prosecution of criminal IP infringement.’ Legal 500 Media and Entertainment (2018)

    ‘He's very clever and committed, and checks out every single angle of the case.’ Chambers UK (2018)

    ‘Unrivalled technical knowledge of the issues combined with great commercial awareness.’ Legal 500 (2017)

    ‘An absolute expert in the field of intellectual property fraud.’ Legal 500 (2016)

    ‘A very hard worker who is totally dedicated to his cases.’ Legal 500 (2015)

    Recent Cases

    News

    • Ari Alibhai cited in government response to call for views on illicit streaming

      Recent prosecutions related to illicit streaming show that current laws are working.

    • Ari Alibhai addresses the Association of Chief Trading Standards Officers' AGM

      Ari spoke on ‘illicit streaming devices’.

    • Ari Alibhai successful in Private Prosecution on behalf of Sky

      Prosecution of individual who sold devices providing access to illegal streams of Sky content.

    • Two men imprisoned for four-and-a-half years in IPTV private prosecution

      David Groome and Ari Alibhai were instructed by the Premier League. 

    • Ari Alibhai shares stage with IPO and FACT at CTSI Conference

      Ari Alibhai of QEB Hollis Whiteman presented at a joint seminar run with the Intellectual Property Office and the Federation Against Copyright Theft at the Chartered Trading Standards Institute Annual Conference, on the topic of illegal streaming devices,...

    • Two imprisoned for illegal harvesting and distribution of international premium sports broadcasts

      Terrence O'Reilly and William O'Leary were today sentenced to a combined total of 6 years' imprisonment for conspiracy to defraud following the conclusion of a private prosecution undertaken by QEB Hollis Whiteman members David Groome and Ari Alibhai on b...

    • David Groome and Ari Alibhai secure confiscation order for nearly £1m against directors of Digicam on behalf of FA Premier League and Sky

      At Guildford Crown Court today Deputy Circuit Judge Critchlow, formerly the Recorder of Guildford, ordered the directors of Digicam International Limited, Leon Passlow and Simon Hopkins, to pay almost £1 million following contested confiscation proceeding...

    • QEB Hollis Whiteman member Ari Alibhai speaks to law enforcers on internet protocol TV services

      Ari Alibhai, QEB HW barrister specialising in the protection of Intellectual Property rights, will tomorrow speak at a conference at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester, to delegates from law enforcement, Criminal Prosecution Service, major broadcasters and sp...

    • Ari Alibhai appears on a Panel of experts at the European Content Protection Summit - Wednesday 29th October

      Ari will join other experts in the IP arena for what should be an interesting and informative day.  Ari was delighted to accept this invitation on behalf of FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft).

    • Groome & Alibhai - modern day Holmes & Watson?

      Edward Fennell, Times Law diarist, today compared David Groome and Ari Alibhai to famous sleuthing partnerships, Holmes & Watson and Poirot & Hastings. Commenting on their recent success on behalf of FACT (the Federation Against Copyright Theft) in the...

    Articles

    • 10th Mar 2021

      A Podcast: The Mechanics, Advantages and Potential Pitfalls of Private ProsecutionsNick Corsellis QC and Ari Alibhai, senior members of QEB’s private prosecution practice group, discuss the mechanics, advantages and potential pitfalls of private pro...

    • New route to conviction against sellers of pre-loaded equipment (Stichting Brein v Jack Frederik Wullems)

      IP & IT analysis: Ari Alibhai discusses the Court of Justice's judgment in Stichting Brein.

      View Article

    • Ari Alibhai co-authors Private Prosecution Practice Note for Lexis Nexis

      QEB Hollis Whiteman member Ari Alibhai, private prosecution specialist, collaborated with solicitor David Northfield of Fieldfisher LLP to produce a Practice Note, Protecting Intellectual Property through Private Prosecutions for legal publisher Lexis Nexis PSL series.  

      View Article