The Premier League has announced its “biggest ever crackdown” on illegal football streams.
It has obtained a new High Court Order that will make it much harder for people to watch games on so-called boxes.
The order will be in place for the entire 2017/18 season.
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It allows the Premier League to work with the UK’s internet service providers (ISPs), including Sky, BT and Virgin Media, to quickly block servers that are hosting illegal streams of matches.
, and has been described as being “highly effective”.
According to the Premier League, those efforts led to more than 5,000 server IP addresses, which had previously been streaming illegal Premier League content, being blocked.
“This blocking order is a game-changer in our efforts to tackle the supply and use of illicit streams of our content,” said Kevin Plumb, the Premier League’s director of legal services.
“It will allow us to quickly and effectively block and disrupt the illegal broadcast of Premier League football via any means, including so called ‘pre-loaded Kodi boxes’.
“The protection of our copyright, and the investment made by our broadcast partners, is hugely important to the Premier League and the future health of English football.”
Kodi is completely legal software, but third-party addons allow users to easily find and watch copyrighted content, such as TV shows, films and sports fixtures, for free.
They have become extremely popular over recent months, despite being illegal to use.
A recent BBC survey found that .
However, several popular addons and libraries have shut down over recent weeks, including , and .
The Premier League claims it has played a big role in this, saying its “anti-piracy efforts have also contributed to a range of prominent apps and add-ons being closed down as the law catches up with them, leading to consumers who have purchased illegal pre-loaded streaming devices being out of pocket.”
Reacting to the news, a Sky spokesperson told the Independent: “We are in the middle of a significant shift in tackling this type of piracy, a fightback that is making it harder and harder for people to stream content illegally.
“Last season’s action by the English Premier League had a significant impact on traffic to illegal streams of live football matches, and we welcome the decision to allow this crackdown to continue in the coming season.”