Premier League Obtains New Injunction to Take on Pirate Streams

/ 3 years ago

The Premier League has obtained a new High Court injunction that will enable it to block pirate streams. While this isn’t new in itself, it takes a different approach than the usual injunctions do.

Football is probably the most viewed sport in Europe, and it is a significant income source for the streaming and broadcasting licence holders. However, the problem is, that instead of paying monthly subscriptions to broadcasters such as Sky and BT Sport, a large number of people are turning to pirate streams instead. This can be via KODI plugins and other set-top boxes as well as any other device that can play a video stream.

To tackle this threat, The Premier League has just obtained an injunction from Mr Justice Arnold at the High Court which will compel ISPs BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media to block unauthorised streams at the football organisation’s request. So far, nothing new in that. But how that is going to happen is the new thing.

Traditionally, site blocking is played like a whack-a-mole game where a streaming front-end site is permanently taken down while a new one pops up before it has any effect. Instead, the Premier League is following the trail to the actual server streaming the content to block that instead. With the new injunction, they will be able to block streams during games rather than having to go through a long process and have a new site pop up before the block has any effect.

The question is, how all this is going to happen. It is unlikely that there can be any meaningful legal oversight if the football organisation tells an ISP to instantly block a stream at 3 pm on a Saturday, for example. Another question is, what happens to other sites hosted on the same server as the illegal stream? Will they go down too when the ISPs kill the connection to the server? We’ll have to wait for the Injunction to be made public to know for sure, as part of the hearing was held in private due to confidential information.

Sky, who both broadcasts the Premier League games and is an ISP, welcomed the decision: “We are pleased the Premier League’s application to crack down on illegal streaming has been granted. Content piracy is theft, and the success of this application is an important step in tackling the issue,” a spokesman said.

I like this idea and it is the correct way of dealing with content pirates. To go for the source rather than the end-user. It will have a bigger effect as people will be left with the legal viewing options only.

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