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Premier League bids to block illegal streaming sites

Posted on Monday, 24 June by

Premier League Streaming

The global juggernaut that is now the Premier League will request a court order forcing internet service providers to restrict access to illegal, but popular, football streaming sites before the start of this coming season.

The League wants ISPs to block their users’ ability to access FirstRow1.eu, which operates from Sweden and broadcasts nearly all Barclays Premier League fixtures for free. If successful, the site will become the first sport site blocked in the UK.

Premier League Tweet 1

The move by England’s top-tier of professional football echoes moves made by the British Phonographic Institute, which has been successful in restricting access to music piracy websites including the Pirate Bay. As it stands, no ISPs are set to challenge the Premier League’s court order, so it looks like they’ll get their way.

The cost generated from television licensing deals is worth over £1bn in the UK alone, with Sky and BT the most recent successful bidders. This situation raises issues for BT, who are the country’s largest internet service provider. Historically, they’ve been keen to defend the rights to freedom for internet users but now, with their own investment at risk, that may not the case.

Premier League Tweet 2

Jim Killock, of Open Rights Group, is worried that conflicted interests might lead to censorship becoming less transparent: “All of the major ISPs now have differing degrees of conflicts of interest. Sky, BT, Virgin and TalkTalk all supply televisions services now, so we have to expect that there will be more reluctance to be as transparent as they have been in the past.”

Online streaming services have long been a port of call for sports fans who can’t afford to shell out £60 a month for Sky’s ultimate package. Unfortunately, it looks like the days of spreading out laptops across your student living room on a Saturday afternoon to watch the game are coming to an end.

Good news for Lineker though, Match of the Day just became relevant again.

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Corey Pellatt
22-year-old editor of SQ Magazine and Media Studies student at the University of Sussex. Freelance writer for clients including BHAFC.

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