- UK ISPs are now ordered to block boxing games streams in IPTV services and all other platforms that illegally broadcast them.
- This decision follows similar orders that came from the same court, concerning other sports.
- For now, the blocking seemed to remain somewhat dormant as an anticipated boxing game was still broadcasted after the court’s order.
The UK High Court has an injunction that orders ISPs (Internet Service Providers) in the UK to block real-time sports streams, including boxing matches, football games, and everything else that falls into the popular categories that are streamed by IPTV services. The ruling came after a relevant complaint that was filed by Queensbury Promotions, one of the largest players in the field of boxing.
With the rise of IPTV services, the problems of live sports streaming have grown to get almost out of hand now. People can get unlicensed streaming services from numerous sources, using cheap Android TV boxes and a low-cost subscription. This has caused enormous problems to sports broadcasters who are having much difficulty in maintaining a profit nowadays since they have to pay large sums to obtain the broadcasting licenses. IPTV offers live streams of these broadcasts for a fraction of the legitimate services cost, so more and more people prefer the former over the latter.
The Premier League fought against IPTV by obtaining a blocking order by the High Court last year, compelling UK ISPs such as Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media, and BT to actively take measures against unauthorized live sports streaming. This blocking action was followed by Matchroom Sport who asked for and received the same order from the High Court, and now it was the time for Queensbury Promotions to obtain the same injunction. This covers almost the full spectrum of what live sports the IPTV subscribers enjoyed until recently, so the popularity and temptation of these services will naturally start to fade.
The only thing that can stop the injunction from being applied until 2020 is an appeal from the ISP’s side, and this is something that is highly unlikely to happen at this point. ISPs have expressed their opposition with this type of orders in the past, but have changed sides since then, even going to the extent of openly/publicly supporting these orders.
However, it is important to point out that although the order has been active since the end of last month, piracy of popular boxing matches such as the Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury continued almost as usual, with 10 million illicit viewers watching the much-anticipated boxing confrontation in December 1st. YouTube was among the leading providers of the illegal streams, so the blocking wasn’t immediately effective, and having ISPs block such a website would be extremely difficult. As the order will remain in effect until the end of 2020, it will be interesting to see how things will develop on that front.