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Premier League claims latest win in piracy battle

The Premier League, the top division of English club football, has claimed its latest victory as part of its ongoing efforts to crack down on piracy of its broadcast rights through a Dutch court verdict against internet hosting provider Ecatel.

Under the ruling, Ecatel has been ordered by the Dutch District Court, in The Hague, to stop providing any services that facilitate the viewing of illegal streams of Premier League football, and could face a fine of up to €1.5m ($1.83m) if it refuses to do so.

The Premier League took legal action against Ecatel, a UK company, after it repeatedly ignored its warnings that by hosting and providing access to servers for illegal streams of its content it was acting unlawfully.

The league said in a statement: “This judgment stated the League’s broadcasts are eligible for copyright protection, that the League owns the copyright, and that by providing services and servers used for making illegal streams available to viewers, Ecatel broke the law.”

The Premier League’s action against Ecatel is part of a wide-ranging copyright protection programme that has included the League successfully obtaining a High Court blocking order preventing illegal streams being broadcast in the UK, working with Spanish authorities to shut down illegal Internet Service Providers, and action in Thailand and Singapore against sellers of illicit streaming devices that provided access to illegal broadcasts of Premier League football.

However, the Torrent Freak website noted the ruling will be mostly of value as a precedent. Ecatel operated its servers in the Netherlands, but the company dissolved last year.

The complaint outlined that Ecatel hosted sites such as cast247.tv, streamlive.to and iguide.to, which granted access to live Premier League streams.

Torrent Freak noted that another hosting company, Novogara, was previously linked with Ecatel and is still active, but is not mentioned in the court order.