The Football Association Premier League (FAPL) won a landmark ruling in its ongoing battle to tackle illegal streaming of Premier League fixtures.The Court's order obliges the six largest retail ISPs to block access to servers which allow delivery of infringing Premier League content to UK consumers. Previously, blocking orders had only been obtained against websites that allow users to watch infringing content, the most prominent in the sports arena being FirstRow Sports in 2013.
In practice, the success of such orders can be limited, as sites that stream content have tended to shut down, and then reappear under a different guise. Further, consumers have increasingly switched to accessing illegally streamed content via set top devices like Amazon Fire sticks or Kodi boxes as well as mobile device apps, which would not be caught by a traditional website blocking order.
The Court's order seeks to root out the problem before streams can spread to websites, add-ons and apps, thereby breaking the chain leading to infringement – as one streaming server could feed multiple client browsers.
In December 2017, the court granted a further order against streaming servers delivering infringing live streams of UEFA Champions and Europa League matches.
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