Premier League claims latest win in piracy battle

Football’s English Premier League has won the latest round of its battle to clamp down on piracy of its audiovisual content after London’s High Court approved its request to shutdown unlicensed streams online.

The ruling by Mr Justice Arnold relates to illegal streaming of games on IPTV, or Kodi, boxes. The judge has approved an order for the UK’s top four broadband providers – BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media – to block connections to the servers that host pirated streams of matches.

UK newspaper The Telegraph said the Premier League is acting with the support of domestic broadcast rights-holders – pay-television broadcasters Sky and BT Sport.

A Premier League spokesman said: “For the first time this will enable the Premier League to disrupt and prevent the illegal streaming of our matches via Kodi boxes. This will enable us to target the suppliers of illegal streams to IPTV boxes, and the internet, in a proportionate and precise manner.”

A league spokesman told the Bloomberg news agency that in many instances, the pirated services “are provided by individuals involved in other criminal activity.”

Responding to the ruling, a Sky spokesman told The Telegraph: “Content piracy is theft and the success of this application is an important step in tackling the issue. We’ll continue to work with rights-holders, government, online market places and content creators to tackle today’s piracy and make people aware of the risks it presents and the damage it causes.”