Court extends live blocking order for unauthorised Premier League streams

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Summary: The High Court agreed on 18 July 2018 to extend The Football Association Premier League Limited’s (FAPL) blocking order for illegal streams of its Premier League matches.

The High Court agreed on 18 July 2018 to extend The Football Association Premier League Limited’s (FAPL) blocking order for illegal streams of its Premier League matches.

The live blocking order was originally granted in 2017 under s97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and was the first of its kind to be granted by the UK courts. Following an application by FAPL to extend the order, it will now operate again for the 2018/19 Premier League season for all matches that are streamed. FAPL uses video monitoring technology to identify the infringing streams which it then notifies to the defendants. The defendants, which include BT and Sky, will then be obliged to block the IP addresses of those servers streaming the matches during play.

The advent of new technologies is providing further means of watching and streaming content online illegally, prompting challenges across the EU. Most recently, the world’s tennis associations called for action against illegal streaming and copyright infringement following the illegal worldwide stream of the Wimbledon males final.

Applicants for a live blocking order against internet service providers will need to be able to show that their copyright in the live stream is being infringed and the service provider has actual knowledge that another person is using their internet service to provide the streaming service. The extension of FAPL’s order was supported by the courts as the original order was shown to have achieved the aim of blocking access by infringing servers. Further, no evidence of ‘overblocking’ was identified which would impact the reputation of the internet service providers.

Authors of this blog are Senior Associate, Ash von Schwan and Trainee, Aveline Orban.

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