Premier League wins High Court Order in Fight against Illegal Streams
The Premier League has won a high court decision to block servers that illicitly stream matches, in what they expect to be a significant measure in a clampdown on piracy.
Four of the UKs biggest Internet Service Providers (ISPs) – Sky, BT, Virgin Media & Talk Talk - will be obligated to block offending streaming servers, not just the websites that facilitate the viewing of the illicit streams.
“The new block will enable a proportionate and targeted restriction of content that would otherwise have been proliferated to unauthorised websites and IPTV devices," said the Premier League following the decision.
While (perfectly legal) media software KODI was, rightly, not explicitly mentioned in the order, the mainstream press are headlining the order as a victory against the open source project, or more explicitly the streaming boxes configured to run unofficial add-ons that make the viewing of dodgy streams a set-top-box-like experience. In truth, the same streams are just as readily available using a web browser or an app via PC, tablet, smartphone, certain set-top boxes or even Smart TV apps. KODI has become the unwilling poster boy in the fight against piracy, arguably because it provides the prettiest interface for accessing the illegal streams, including games not broadcast live on UK television.
What is more significant is that, now, the Premier League can target the problem at source, although it could become a cat and mouse situation, if the IPTV providers have contingencies against, what had to be, expected consequences. With so much money at stake and so many interested parties – not least Sky and BT who directly lose on the pots of money invested in their multi-billion rights deal with the EPL – it was only a matter of time before this kind of action was taken. On the flipside, those profiting from providing ‘IPTV’ services aren’t likely to stand by and allow themselves to be shut down, easily; if it’s as simple as having to keep moving domains it could become a whack-a-mole operation, although you would expect users will see some at least some disruption to services.
Speaking to the BBC a Premier League Spokesperson said:
"For the first time this will enable the Premier League to disrupt and prevent the illegal streaming of our matches via IPTV, so-called, Kodi boxes.”
The court order comes on the back of an increasing number of legal cases brought against those involved with the mass supply of pre-configured IPTV boxes, usually running Android, resulting in fines and, in some cases, custodial sentences.
Is the Premier League going to score a victory against illegal streams or will the IPTV providers ‘park the bus?’
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