HomeInsightsHigh Court grants blocking orders against ISPs to cover FA Premier League and UEFA 2018/2019 football season

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In 2017 Mr Justice Arnold made orders on the application of The Football Association Premier League (FAPL), and in a separate case UEFA, requiring the ISP defendants to take measures to block, or at least impede, access by their customers to streaming servers delivering infringing live streams of Premier League and UEFA footage to UK consumers.

In accordance with the terms of the orders, the FAPL and UEFA applied for an extension of their provisions to cover the 2018/2019 season.

Arnold J found that in both cases the evidence demonstrated that the orders had been very effective in achieving the blocking of access to the target servers during Premier League and UEFA matches. Moreover, there was no real evidence of overblocking.

The extension order sought by FAPL differed in two respects. First, it enlarged the subset of infringing steaming servers to be blocked. Secondly, the requirement to notify hosting providers was made subject to a short delay in order to prevent the order being circumvented. Evidence filed by FAPL demonstrated that there had been attempts to circumvent the second order, which Arnold J said was “a very real” concern.

UEFA sought three variations to the extension order to: i) cover additional UEFA competitions; ii) enlarge the subset of infringing steaming servers to be blocked; and iii) as with the FAPL order, make the requirement to notify hosting providers subject to a short delay to prevent the order being circumvented.

Ultimately, Arnold J was satisfied that the court had jurisdiction to make both the orders sought and said that it was appropriate to exercise his discretion to do so. (FAPL v British Telecommunications plc [2018] EWHC 1828 (Ch) (18 July 2018) and UEFA v British Telecommunications plc [2018] EWHC 1900 (Ch) (24 July 2018) — to read the judgments in full, click here and here).