HomeInsightsHigh Court makes further order requiring ISPs to block access to streaming servers that deliver infringing live streams of Premier League footage to UK consumers

On 8 March 2017, Mr Justice Arnold granted the Football Association Premier League a blocking order against the six main retail ISPs requiring them to block access to streaming servers that stream live Premier League matches to UK consumers.

On 10 May 2017, Arnold J varied the first order so as to enable the list of target servers to be re-set every two weeks, rather than every week following evidence that this would enable the target servers to be identified more easily.

The first order lasted until the end of the Premier League season on 22 May 2017.  FAPL then applied for a similar order to cover the 2017/18 Premier League season, which begins on 12 August 2017.  The ISPs did not oppose the application.  However, the court still had to be satisfied that the order was justified.

Evidence from FAPL showed that the first order was, as Arnold J said, “very effective” in achieving the blocking of access to the target servers during Premier League matches.  Further, there was no evidence of over blocking.

The order sought by FAPL was different in that it included an adjustment to enlarge the subset of infringing streaming servers to be blocked in some respects, but reduced it in one respect.  Further, it included certain technical alterations to the methods by which the target server IP addresses had to be detected and blocked in order to make the blocking more effective and efficient.  Evidence from FAPL showed that there had been a clear attempt to circumvent the first blocking order, meaning that the concern was “a very real one”, Arnold J said.

Arnold J decided that the court had jurisdiction to make the order sought and that it was appropriate for him to exercise his discretion to grant the order for “essentially the same reasons” as given in the 8 March judgment.  (The Football Association Premier League Ltd v British Telecommunications plc [2017] EWHC 1877 (Ch) (25 July 2017) — the judgment is available in full on the Lawtel website.)