It's time for football fans to ditch the dodgy-box. Those attempting to access illegal Premier League streaming next season will find the service blocked after a Commercial Court ruling yesterday.
In the Court hearing, the Football Association Premier League Limited was granted the first-ever order in Ireland compelling Internet Service Providers (ISP) to block live-streaming of Premier League games.
The order 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, the court heard. It will be possible to block streams across several platforms and apps “in one blow”, the court also heard.
The internet protocol (IP) addresses of the streaming hosts will be updated at least twice during match time so that the blocking can be enabled, Jonathan Newman SC, for the premier league company said. It will be possible to respond “within minutes” to the illegal streaming.
Tech Journalist Jess Kelly clarified how the ruling will operate. "Rather than the Premier League scouring the internet and shutting down every single website that is hosting this content. Your Internet Service provider is now going to block it before it comes into your home"
While this was a first for Ireland, similar orders were secured in the UK last year. Football is not the only sport to seek such an order, boxing promoters also sought to do so. Such a ruling come into force last year after Matchroom Boxing and Queensbury Promotions both took separate injunctions to the High Court in the UK.
The orders were obtained due to the extreme proliferation of illegal streaming services and the apparent normalisation of such services despite their illegal status.
In a survey of 2000 respondents presented to the Court, 36% admitted to accessing material they were not entitled to. While 19% of those surveyed accessed Premier League action this way.
Mr Justice Haughton granted the order, noting if continuing unchecked, illegal streaming was likely to impact on returns for the football clubs and the wider sporting community.
The effectiveness of such orders though may be questionable. The Tyson Fury v Deontay Wilder fight was estimated to have been viewed illegally by 10 million people in the UK. The fight happened after the High Court order brought about by Queensbury Promotions came into effect.