Sky says it’s getting much harder to pirate Premier League matches in the UK.
Earlier this year, it started working with the Premier League to quickly block sites that let people stream live games for free.
According to the broadcasting company, the measure is working.
“Site-blocking has moved the goalposts significantly,” said Sky UK head of litigation Matthew Hibbert at the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA) Convention this week. “In the UK you cannot easily watch pirated live Premier League content anymore.”
He told the Independent: “The blocking order is proving very effective It is getting much harder to access illegal streams of Premier League football, and not only on streaming devices setup for the purpose. The impact is the same for illegal streams to any device, including mobiles tablets and laptops.”
The Premier League announced its “biggest ever crackdown” on illegal football streams ahead of the start of the 2017/18 season.
It obtained a High Court Order that allows it to work with the UK’s internet service providers, including Sky, BT and Virgin Media, to block servers that are hosting illegal streams of matches in real-time.
A similar order was obtained for the final two months of the 2016/17 season. During this time, the Premier League says over 5,000 server IP addresses were blocked.
“Site-blocking has been instrumental, but also the High Court’s Blocking Order has been significant in reducing access to illegal streams,” the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) told the Independent.
“The most successful thing we’ve done to combat piracy has been to undertake criminal prosecutions against [illegal streaming device] piracy,” said FACT chief executive Kieron Sharp at the conference.
“Everyone is pleading guilty to these offences.”
Two men were also handed suspended prison sentences for charges relating to the sale of piracy-configured media players.
It’s not just individuals who are being targeted either.
“In the past 18 months the illegal broadcasting of live Premier League matches in pubs in the UK has been decimated,” added Kevin Plumb, the director of legal services at the Premier League.
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