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English Premier League secures order to block pirate servers

A UK court has required service providers including Sky, BT, Virgin Media, TalkTalk, plusnet and EE to block and disrupt servers that host illegal streams of English Premier League football matches. 

The England and Wales High Court has granted an order that will forced the service providers to block servers distributing illicit streams for entirety of the 2018-19 season.

The move follows a similar order that resulted in the blocking of close to 200,000 streams during the 2017-18 season. The League said that the latest order is an enhanced one that will enable it to block more servers in a more effective way.

The League’s anti-piracy campaign last season saw 450,000 illegal clips of Premier League content being removed from social and digital media outlets.

A week ago an investigation by the Premier League and the Federation Against Copyright Theft led to a husband-and-wife criminal team being convicted and sentenced for pirating Premier League content. John Haggerty, the owner of Evolution Trading, was sentenced to five years and three months in prison in Newcastle Crown Court after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud and dishonestly obtaining services for another, contrary to the Fraud Act, while his wife Mary Gilfillan was convicted of fraud and was given a two-year suspended sentence.

“Last season the Premier League operated one of the biggest and most successful anti-piracy programmes in the world and this decision by the High Court is a significant factor in being able to continue that approach,” said Premier League director of services, Kevin Plumb.

“A similar Order granted last year was a game-changer for our work in this area, enabling us to block or disrupt nearly 200,000 illegal streams across the 2017/18 season. The ability that Premier League clubs have to develop and acquire talented players, to build and improve stadiums and to support communities and schools, is predicated on being able to market, sell and protect commercial rights. This makes the protection of our copyright hugely important to the future health of English football and beyond.”