Premier League takes site to Israel Supreme Court
November 18, 2009
A ruling stating that sporting events may be aired live online without violating copyrights undermines the legal basis for managing broadcasting rights, representatives of the English soccer Premier League have stated in their appeal to the Israeli High Court of Justice.
The earlier ruling was handed down by the Tel Aviv District Court. The English Premier League grants game broadcasting rights to television stations in 207 countries, and discovered the games are being streamed live on the website live-footy.org. The league’s management sent a cease-and-desist email to the website owners, who are Israeli. They refused to comply.
According to the earlier judgement Premier League failed to prove that the website had violated its rights, and online broadcasts are different from television broadcasts. Therefore, there was no cause to demand that the site owners’ identity be revealed. In the wake of that decision, the website was permitted to continue its free broadcasts of English Premier League games.
The EPL argues in their appeal that the ruling legalises digital piracy and warned that it could place Israel among countries notorious for allowing piracy. They also argued that contrary to the judge’s decision, which found that the website operator derives no profit, the website has earnings from advertisements and links. They also stated that there is no basis for the assumption that online viewers would not potentially pay to view games.