The English Premier League's latest efforts to block unauthorised streaming of matches in Israel have failed, following a court ruling in favour of free coverage. The EPL was hoping to put a stop to online piracy. However, Israel's Tel Aviv District Court ruled that the website in question was functioning under the principle of "fair use."
The Premier League also failed to expose the identity of the person behind LiveFooty.org, a website that relies on Israeli servers to provide free match streams. The Court supported the site due to the fact that no profits are being made, with Judge Michal Agmon-Gonen pointing out that sports events should "remain in the realm of mass entertainment, and not just be for those who can afford it."
Judge Agmon-Gonen further noted that the online streams have no effect on broadcasting revenue, and merely make the viewing experience available to those who cannot afford to pay.
It is now feared that the ruling could set the precedent for future cases of online piracy within the country. According to Israeli law, breach of broadcasting copyrights apply only to cable and wireless transmission, not online streaming.
The judge ruled to keep the matter within Israel, despite efforts made by the Premier League to have the case transferred out of the country. She explained that without solid Internet laws in place, the Court was forced to choose between copyright holder rights and user rights. The Premier League is now ready to appeal the issue at high court.