Sky claims victory in UK over illegal pirate football streams

Sky is claiming the defeat of illegal football match streaming in the UK, touting real-time site-blocking as the key to its victory.

Illegal steaming devices (ISDs) have been attributed to the rise of illegally streaming football matches that Sky has the rights to broadcast, despite the UK Intellectual Property Office’s initial view that such pirate boxes weren’t a problem, TorrentFreak reports.

However, the rise of such ISDs along with free Kodi add-ons and apps offering access to content normally reserved for Sky and other legitimate service subscriptions, had led to more illegal streaming of football games.

But Sky’s head of litigation Matthew Hibbert has claimed that pioneering injunctions obtained by the The Premier League has resulted in local internet service providers implementing real-time measures that block sites providing illegal streams of football matches. This has made illegal online viewing of games a much more difficult experience than it was before.

“Site-blocking has moved the goalposts significantly,” said Hibbert, at the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia Conference 2017. “In the UK you cannot watch pirated live Premier League content any more.”

Hibbert’s statement may be a tad premature as TorrentFreak’s sources have found around a dozen illicit sites that offer Saturday football match streaming, with generally steady streams.

The sheer volume of dodgy streaming services means there’s still some way to go before such piracy is stamped out, but it would appear that site-blocking has helped cut down on illegal Premier League match streaming.

“In the past 18 months the illegal broadcasting of live Premier League matches in pubs in the UK has been decimated,” said Kevin Plumb, director of legal services at The Premier League.

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