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Dublin: 6 °C Saturday 23 August, 2014

Premier League scores court orders to block First Row Sports

Six internet service providers have been told to stop hosting the popular football streaming site.

You may have to pay a Sky subscription to see Gary Neville and co.
You may have to pay a Sky subscription to see Gary Neville and co.
Image: Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport

IS THIS THE end for popular football-streaming site First Row Sports?

The Premier League have today secured a judgement in Britain’s High Court requiring the six main UK-based Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block the website.

A judge in a London court said the injunction should be granted because First Row ‘ is profiting from infringement on a large scale’.

It’s the first time that an order has been granted against a website that facilitates access to other illegal streaming sites.

“We are extremely pleased that the order blocking this website has been granted and we will be enforcing it, in conjunction with the ISPs, ahead of the 2013/14 Barclays Premier League season,” a Premier League spokesman said in a statement.

“It is absolutely imperative that content industries are afforded protection under the law if they are to continue investing in the sort of quality talent and facilities that has made them successful and of interest in the first place.

“The judgment recognises the parasitic nature of the enterprise; this was an out and out commercial operation with estimated revenues of up to £10 million a year, whilst giving nothing back to the sport. The content industries are playing an increasingly significant role in the UK economy, so it is pleasing to see that the courts recognise this and prevent continued abuses of copyright.”

Mr Justice Arnold also warned publicans against showing Premier League matches using First Row.

“Publicans should know that the only broadcasters entitled to show live Premier League matches in the UK as of the coming season are BSkyB and BT Vision,” the Sky official said.  “Mr Justice Arnold’s comments serve to add further clarity to this point.

“The Premier League will be significantly upping its enforcement activity in this area in the coming months, so any publican who is being offered a service that is not either BSkyB or BT Vision should be aware that these are illegal and they open themselves up to the possibility of prosecution.”

The injunction is against British Sky Broadcasting, BT, Everything Eveywhere, TalkTalk, Telefonica UK and Virgin Media.

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