While the Spanish football league La Liga might not generate the same hype as England’s lucrative Premier League, it still manages to generate $8.2 billion every year in media rights. However, pirate IPTV websites eat into the sport’s profits by allowing fans access to the matches for free. DMCA complaints against pirate IPTV websites can get quite messy with many websites outright refusing to take down streams and ignoring requests.
La Liga has managed to find an effective means of controlling piracy by approaching Google. The search engine is now blocking search results that list known pirate IPTV services. The high cost of licensing rights often leads to expensive subscription costs, which deters many football fans from watching streams legitimately via TV subscribers.
A DMCA notice sent to Google by La Liga states “Among the channels they offer, we can find audiovisual content of the football competitions corresponding to the National First and Second Division League Championships, and/or the SM King of Spain Cup, competitions organized by the entity complaining here, the National Professional Soccer League.”
La Liga is not targeting specific URLs. Instead, the football body is trying to block content right at the source. All stream sources that are not official automatically get flagged and are removed by Google. The Premier League in the UK has been much more successful in its attempts against piracy. Premier League has legal rights to request any ISP in the UK to ban websites immediately, which allows matchday streams to be taken down fast enough to deter people from watching illegal streams.
La Liga’s move not only blocks stream pages, but also entire websites and all their URLs which may include content that is not related to football as well like FAQ and About Us pages. While there are many pages that continue to operate without being listed on Google, it does hurt the viewership of pirate websites because a large number of users use Google to search for pirated streams.