In the latest battle over streaming rights, the Premier League has been awarded a High Court Order in the UK which will allow the Premier League to effectively shut down servers that enable the illegal streaming of Premier League matches during the 2017/2018 season. This latest order follows on from a previous one which while being almost identical in nature, was only awarded for the latter part of last season. In contrast, this order will be applicable for the entirety of the 2017/2018 season.
The Premier League (or the EPL to those in the US), has been one of the entities aggressively pushing to have such orders put in place, due to the vast sums of money that is associated with the top-tier of English football. For instance, this order only really does apply to UK-operating ISPs but in the UK market alone, Sky and BT Sport (the two services who currently own the rights to broadcast Premier League matches in the UK) paid more than £5 billion ($6.5 billion) between them for those rights. That is, just for the rights to show live matches for three seasons. As a result and due to the large sums of money involved, the likes of Sky, BT Sport, and the Premier League in general, have welcomed this latest legal development.
While Kodi per se, is not the main source of the issue, it is one which has largely become the poster-child for legal action and especially when it comes to so-called ‘Kodi boxes’ - which are sold as-is units that are already set up to receive illegal broadcasts of football matches. In announcing the latest legal win, the Premier League itself referred to the High Court Order as a “game-changer” and one which adds to the Premier League's “biggest ever crackdown on the illegal streaming of its content.” With the understanding that this blocking order will essentially allow the Premier League (and its broadcast partners) not only a lengthier ability to shut down illegal access to live matches, but also a more far-reaching ability. As this order allows companies to force ISPs to shut down entire servers, it will effectively enable ISPs to shut down multiple feeds simultaneously, instead of the previous approach which largely relied on streams being taken down on a feed-by-feed basis.