Advanced Television

Premier League wins Irish ISP blocking order

July 16, 2019

By Colin Mann

With the 2019/20 English Premier League set to kick off in the coming weeks, a court order means that Irish people will find it much harder to locate illegal TV streams of live games. Football Association Premier League Ltd has been granted Ireland’s first order which compels Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block live streaming of matches.

The order, granted in the Commercial Court, is against Eircom/Eir, Sky Ireland, Sky Subscriber Services, Virgin Media Ireland and Vodafone Ireland. The ISPs were either supportive or neutral over the application, Mr Justice Robert Haughton was told.

Under the order, the content provided by the illegitimate servers or hosts, using streams from legal broadcast outlets, will be targeted in real time for disabling using the latest advances in technology.

It will be possible to block unofficial streams across several platforms and apps such as on phones, computers and set-top boxes, according to the order.

Jonathan Newman SC, representing the Premier League, said the Internet Protocol addresses of the streaming hosts would be updated at least twice during match time so that the blocking could be enabled, making it possible to respond to the illegal streaming within minutes.

Mr Justice Haughton said he was satisfied to grant the order and noted from a previous UK case brought by the Premier League in advance of the 2018/19 season that the judge in that case noted that continued illegal streaming undermined the value of the football TV rights, and that if unchecked, was likely impact returns for the football clubs and wider sporting community.

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