UK ISPs to block set-top boxes that illegally live-stream soccer matches

Kodi set-top boxes that allow football fans to stream live matches without a licence will be blocked by the UK’s four biggest ISPs, after the High Court approved a piracy clampdown order.

Sky, BT, TalkTalk, and Virgin Media will all be required to block servers that stream Premier League football games.

“The new block will enable a proportionate and targeted restriction of content that would otherwise have been proliferated to unauthorised websites and IPTV devices,” said the Premier League after it secured the court order from Mr Justice Arnold on Wednesday.

BT and Sky fling millions of pounds at footie matches to win exclusive rights to broadcast the games live. Earlier this week, BT Sport secured the exclusive rights to show UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League matches until 2021.

But broadcasters and the Premier League have been fretting about the rise of Kodi set-top boxes, which allow football fans to watch live streams of copyrighted material on their TVs without paying for a subscription.

The High Court granted the order to block the servers that stream the matches via the Kodi boxes under section 97a of the Copyright, Designs, and Patents Act.

“We will continue working with ISPs, government, and other sports content producers to protect consumers from illegitimate services that offer no recourse when services are removed, provide no parental controls and, in many instances, are provided by individuals involved in other criminal activity,” the Premier League said.

The Premier League has been involved in a number of recent legal actions against individuals who have supplied Kodi boxes to football fans seeking to watch the matches without coughing up a subscription fee to Sky or BT.

This week, a millionaire who flogged Kodi boxes to pubs for £1,000 a pop was ordered to pay £250,000 and handed a 10-month prison sentence, which was suspended for one year after 65-year-old Malcom Mayes of Hartlepool, County Durham pleaded guilty to selling the boxes illegally.

This post originated on Ars Technica UK

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