Ronaldo7, a popular website for people looking for ways to stream live football for free, has stopped posting links to Premier League games.
Similar to Reddit Soccer Streams (which itself has been targeted by authorities in recent weeks), Ronaldo7 acts as a portal for pirates, compiling lists of links that take users directly to illegal streams that are hosted on various pirate sites.
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It caters to followers of a range of major football leagues and competitions, including the Champions League, Europa League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A, FA Cup Championship and, until late February at least, the Premier League.
“We’ve been contacted by the Premier League and we’ve been ordered to stop. Basically, they have told us that if we didn’t stop posting/sharing links to Premier League games, they would try to get our site blocked (in regions/countries they didn’t specify),” Ronaldo7’s administrator told Trusted Reviews this week.
“The Premier League legal department sent me an email in February and we decided to stop posting links to Premier League games a few days after, in order to avoid the escalation of the pressure.
“Everyone knows how easy it is to get sites blocked in certain countries these days and since deep-linking to infringing content is still a grey area in many places out there (it’s deemed illegal in some countries and it’s fine in others), we accepted their request and we will no longer link to their games.”
However, this doesn’t mean that illegal Premier League streams have disappeared from the internet. They’re just harder to find.
“We don’t have any control or relationship with any of the streams available on the web,” Ronaldo7’s admin continued.
“We only compiled a list with the best [streams] we found on multiple sources, like Reddit, forums, Google search queries, etc., so even though we’re not posting PL links anymore, they’re still public and available to anyone who searches for them. None of the streams is private/hidden, so our service was only to put everything together in one list.”
Still, this looks like a big win for the Premier League, and it’s possible that the case will prompt other football bodies to target Ronaldo7 in a similar way.
“We at FACT are aware of Ronaldo7. It’s been on our radar for a number of years, and it’s been part of inquiries by law enforcement in the UK in particular,” Kieron Sharp, the CEO of the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), told Trusted Reviews.
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“The Premier League, other rights holders and license broadcasters are always looking to consider what action could be taken against people illegally sharing their product, and this threat of blocking is a valid one, which has clearly made the people behind Ronaldo7 think twice about showing the Premier League.”
We’ve asked the Premier League for more details about the case, and this article will be updated when it responds to our request.
Do you think the crackdown on piracy is working? Let us know on Twitter @TrustedReviews.