EPL's action succeeds in tackling illegal content

LONDON • The English Premier League's new campaign against the illegal streaming of matches led to 600 streams being blocked on the opening weekend of the season and more than 30,000 clips removed from websites.

The "superblock" was launched after the league won a High Court ruling that obliges Internet service providers to block the servers that host the illegal streams.

In addition, the campaign is also targeting clips of goals and action that have been posted by users on social media sites, and 30,000 of these were removed last weekend, including 20,000 alone from YouTube.

A Premier League spokesman said: "More than 600 unique illegal streams were blocked during the opening weekend of the Premier League.

"There was also widespread disruption to apps and add-ons that provide access to illegal content, which will have left consumers disappointed and out of pocket.

"Our broadcast partners, including Sky, BT and the BBC, provide fans with many ways to watch Premier League football legitimately, and their investment enables clubs to develop and sign exciting players, build great stadiums, and support schools and communities - all things that fans enjoy and society benefits from."

Internet users who were trying to visit streaming sites, such as the Spanish-based rojadirecta, are now instead being redirected to a page with the message: "Access to websites listed on this page has been blocked pursuant to orders of the High Court".

Website TorrentFreak reported that the "superblock" led to 5,000 server IP addresses being blocked last weekend.

It said: "As soon as the matches began on Saturday, issues were reported at several of the more prominent IPTV providers.

"Within minutes of the match streams going live, subscribers to affected services were met with black screens, causing anger and frustration."

Richard Scudamore, the Premier League's executive chairman, promised a crackdown last week, saying there would be "a season-long streaming superblock which will block an awful lot of illegal streams".

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 18, 2017, with the headline 'EPL's action succeeds in tackling illegal content'. Print Edition | Subscribe