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Streaming video site had 'cynical disregard' for UEFA's rights

Football body UEFA and broadcaster BSkyB have shut down a website which re-broadcast Champions League games over the internet.12 Jun 2006

UEFA and Sky took the three people behind Sportingstreams.com to the High Court where the judge upheld their claim that the site's re-broadcasting of games was unauthorised and breached copyright legislation.

The case was so clear that Judge Justice Lindsay granted a summary judgement to avoid a full trial. The trio behind the website offered no defence in the case and did not turn up to court.

The website charged subscriptions of users who then watched football and cricket matches via the site. The website has been replaced by a page of text and those behind it say that no refunds will be offered to subscribers.

"Due to legal actions and current legal proceedings the website will be closed for the foreseeable future," said a statement on the site. "This was not our choice but we cannot resist the onslaught any longer."

"Unfortunately we will not be able to offer any refunds on memberships as our payment account has also been taken away," said the statement.

Lindsay said that a summary judgement was appropriate because "the defendants have no real prospect of successfully defending the proceedings."

"There is reference [in the claimants' submissions] to a good number of warnings and invitations sent to the defendants that they should cease and desist from their activities but with, so far at any rate, no success," said Lindsay in his judgment.

"Indeed, the claimants say that the defendants have indicated a cynical disregard for UEFA's copyrights and a determination to continue infringing in order to make substantial profits for themselves," he wrote.

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