French court injunctions award power to rights holders to make pirates walk the plank

February 15 – UEFA has welcomed the ruling by a French court that has issued injunctions that will block internet providers carrying pirated streams of Champions League matches.

The injunctions mean that ISPs will have to block access or take down identified pirate streams and are made possible by a recently enacted law designed to regulate and protect sports competitions from illegal online exploitation.

The law gives France’s media regulator, ARCOM, the power to extend the blocking measures to any websites not yet identified in the order that illegally transmit live content of UEFA Champions League matches, during the current season.

The injunctions were obtained by the CANAL+ Group and beIN SPORTS FRANCE, who both hold pay TV rights to UEFA’s club competitions.

“The CANAL+ Group welcomes the court injunction which is a valuable addition to the numerous efforts made by the Group to protect sports right -holders. It is a major step forward in the fight against audiovisual piracy in France and ARCOM is doing a great job,“ said Celine Boyer, head of content protection at Canal+ Group.

The significance of the ruling and protecting the rights of broadcasters and revenues of rights owners and holders alike was emphasised by beIN Sports.

“This succession of actions and blocking measures taken by ISPs will quickly significantly reduce access to fraudulent sites, less than two months after the law came into force.” said Caroline Guenneteau, deputy general counsel of beIN Media Group.

UEFA has recently appointed two leading anti-piracy service providers to help protect the rights of UEFA and its broadcasters. The agencies provide detection, monitoring and enforcement services for live and non-live pirated content on social media platforms and all internet-based platforms and services, such as websites, IPTV services, P2P and unauthorised apps.

UEFA marketing director, Guy-Laurent Epstein, said: “The decisions are evidence of the new and flexible approach that has been adopted in France to accelerate the blocking of illegal websites as well as tackling the issue of internet piracy in this country. The protection of our intellectual property and our rights holders is a top priority for our organisation.”

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