The Premier League is to take legal action to make internet service providers block a website which streams live football matches. According to the Press Association, the governing body - which agreed a new worldwide television deal worth around £5.5billion over three years to start with the new season - is in the process of requesting a court order which would force ISPs to effectively ban their customers from accessing www.FirstRow1.eu, a website based in Sweden.
The moves follow on from those made by the music and film industries, which have successfully blocked websites which offer the opportunity to download copyrighted material, such as Pirate Bay, under Section 97 of the 1988 Copyright, Design and Patent Act. BT is to move into the live broadcast market for the 2013-14 season, having paid £246million to the Premier League for three years - and is set to offer free access to their live sports offerings to its broadband subscribers. Sky also acts as an ISP, and has invested £760million in their football coverage for the next three seasons.
According to PA, the Premier League has already written to the major UK ISPs, which also include Virgin Media and TalkTalk, to outline its plans to apply for a court order to block www.FirstRow1.eu, which are expected to be put forwards by the end of the month. Should the court order be granted, the ISPs would then have to contest the application, or comply and restrict access.
It is understood indications are the ISPs have no plans to go against any such application. The Premier League has for many years monitored various websites during live matches and enforced the removal of any streaming content which breaches copyright.