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Premier League wins court order to block servers supporting illegal streams and sale of streaming devices during 2017/18 football season

Major UK internet service providers (ISPs) will be forced to block access to servers used to support the illegal streaming of English Premier League matches throughout the forthcoming 2017/18 football season.28 Jul 2017

The High Court order is "similar" to one that the Premier League obtained in March, which applied during the final two months of last season, the Premier League said. That blocking order was obtained under section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act and had to be implemented by BT, EE, Plusnet, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin.

The March 2017 order was framed flexibly to allow the Premier League to identify any new servers being used to stream games illegally each match week, and notify the ISPs so as to adjust which servers to block access to. During the time it applied, "more than 5,000 server IP addresses that had previously been streaming illegal Premier League content" were blocked, the Premier League said.

The new blocking order issued by the High Court will enable the Premier League to "further combat the sale and use of illicit streaming devices, including pre-loaded IPTV and so-called ‘Kodi’ boxes", it said.

In April, the EU's highest court ruled that businesses that sell modified TV set-top boxes that allow users to watch copyright infringing content could be found in breach of copyright laws even if they are not responsible for uploading or linking to the infringing material.

"This blocking order is a game-changer in our efforts to tackle the supply and use of illicit streams of our content," Premier League director of legal services, Kevin Plumb, said. "It will allow us to quickly and effectively block and disrupt the illegal broadcast of Premier League football via any means, including so called 'pre-loaded Kodi boxes'."

"The protection of our copyright, and the investment made by our broadcast partners, is hugely important to the Premier League and the future health of English football. The ability that clubs have to develop and acquire talented players, to build and improve stadiums, and to support communities and schools is all predicated on being able to market, sell and protect commercial rights. We are pleased the courts have recognised this with the granting of this significant blocking order," Plumb said.