Premier League granted further blocking order in battle against live match piracy

July 23 – With broadcast piracy issues increasingly concerning sports rights owners anxious to maintain their TV deals and value in an increasingly disrupted marketplace, the Premier League has won a further blocking order in the UK High Court forcing pirate streams to shut down.

The court order is for the 2018/19 season and allows broadcasters including Sky, BT Sport and Virgin Media to block and disrupt servers that host illegal streams of Premier League matches, making it legal to shut those streams at server level.

This is the second season the Premier League has won the order. About 200,000 illegal streams were blocked last season, showing the extent of the piracy problem and the lost revenue to rights holders and broadcasters.

Pirate streams are tracked by digital watermarking embedded in the original video to trace any streams being shared for free, as well as via databases of popular pirate websites and apps for mobile devices and Kodi.

As well as illegal live match streams, the Premier League was able to block 450,000 illegal clips of Premier League content from social and digital media outlets last season.

With leagues now looking to streaming services to become part of their funding model for live matches, the Premier League blocking order points the way to an increased level of protection for both the rights owner and rights holder/broadcaster.

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