July 27 – The English Premier League has been awarded a High Court order for the forthcoming season which it hopes will combat illegal streaming by fans watching their teams for free. The blocking order will require UK Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to prevent supporters from illegal access through services like Kodi.
The move comes amid an ongoing crackdown by the Premier League to eradicate pirate broadcasts of live matches.
Whilst it may not be sufficient to prevent pubs and private clubs from showing games using devices that pick up overseas live broadcasts, it will mean individual server addresses being prevented from streaming Premier League content.
A similar Order was obtained for the final two months of the 2016/17 season and was highly effective, with more than 5,000 server IP addresses blocked that had previously been streaming illegal Premier League content.
“This blocking Order is a game-changer in our efforts to tackle the supply and use of illicit streams of our content,” said Premier League director of legal services, Kevin Plumb. “It will allow us to quickly and effectively block and disrupt the illegal broadcast of Premier League football via any means, including so called ‘pre-loaded Kodi boxes’.”
“The protection of our copyright, and the investment made by our broadcast partners, is hugely important to the Premier League and the future health of English football. The ability that clubs have to develop and acquire talented players, to build and improve stadiums, and to support communities and schools is all predicated on being able to market, sell and protect commercial rights. We are pleased the Courts have recognised this with the granting of this significant blocking Order,” he added.
More than a third of Premier League fans watch live matches on illegal internet streams once a month, according to a BBC survey.
Kieron Sharp, director general of the Federation against Copyright Theft (Fact), said a ruling in April by the European Court of Justice made the law on streaming paid-for content clear.
“People need to be aware that this is no longer a grey area, in fact it is very black and white,” Sharp told Sky. “If you are accessing content for free such as sport, TV and films for which you’d normally need a subscription, or go to the cinema, or buy a DVD, this is illegal. As the old saying goes, if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is.”
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