The UK Premier League has transcended borders and it has become a popular event all round the world. Millions of football fans follow this sports league and the revenue from the international television rights reaches billions of dollars on a yearly basis. However, up until now, the UK’s Premier League has been struggling to tackle illegal streams of its football matches. What has changed is that recently, the Premier League gained a high court injunction that allows it to force ISPs in the UK to take action on internet servers that stream Premier League matches.
What does it mean?
The granted injunction is set to give the Premier League a strong advantage in the battle against online piracy. They will be able to report websites that stream matches illegally directly to the ISPs. The providers will have to block these sites immediately. Previously, there was a court order that gave the Premiership the power to force ISPs to block popular streaming and torrenting websites. However, the Premier League considered that this was not enough and thanks to the new court order, they can get ISPs to block websites in real-time. Premiership League officials hope that the new blocking order allows them to block and stop illegal streams effectively on many platforms, including pre-loaded Kodi boxes. In essence, now they can interrupt a broadcast as it happens.
Although the specific details about the court order have not been made public yet, it is likely that the measures will mainly target foreign servers streaming English Premier League matches in the United Kingdom. The Premier League can now give a list of websites offering illegal streams to UK Internet Service Providers, who will need to block the websites in question immediately. The court order is an important step in the Premiership’s fight against piracy as it will prevent viewers in the United Kingdom from accessing pirated streams of Premier League matches. However, it should be noted that it won’t affect those who do the same in other countries.
Since these streams are still available outside the United Kingdom, there is a solution that many UK residents will probably try and that is, using a VPN. A Virtual Private Network allows users to change their IP address so they can appear as if they were in a different location. If you live in the UK, you simply need to connect to a server in another country in order to access content that is blocked in your location. While there is a chance that some VPN IP addresses may be flagged for providing access to pirated streams of football matches, the best VPN services have a high number of servers around the world. This means that it is practically impossible for the Premier League to prevent people from accessing pirated streams.
Concerns about privacy
Due to the court order, Internet Service Providers have no choice but to comply with the Premier League demands, even though this requires a high investment of time and money. It should be noted that many ISPs offer PPV access to Premier League matches, which is why their collaboration with the EPL may go beyond blocking websites as requested. It is believed that ISPs may even provide some details about customer traffic to the EPL, which raises high concerns in terms of privacy. To make things worse, the UK’s Snoopers Charter establishes that ISPs have to retain their customers’ browsing history for up to a year. It is crucial to keep in mind that ISPs are focusing on making money and they have access to everything you do on the internet.
The amount of power that ISPs have is scary, but there is a way in which you can defend yourself against their privacy-intrusive practices. A VPN is a good solution to consider since it encrypts your traffic, which prevents your ISP and other parties from seeing what you do on the internet. They won’t be able to check your online activities so there won’t be any information that they could share with the Premier League. In addition, since you can change your IP address, not only you will be able to bypass the blocks, but will also enjoy a higher level of online anonymity since your real IP address will remain concealed.