Lights Out For Illegal Streaming Of European Soccer Matches As UEFA Secures High Court Order

Published date07 December 2020
Subject MatterIntellectual Property, Litigation, Mediation & Arbitration, Media, Telecoms, IT, Entertainment, IT and Internet, Copyright, Trials & Appeals & Compensation, Media & Entertainment Law, Sport
Law FirmWilliam Fry
AuthorMr Craig Sowman, Derek Hegarty, Leo Moore, Patrick Murphy and Laura Flanagan

UEFA, the governing body of football in Europe, has secured an order from the Irish High Court requiring several internet service providers (ISPs) to block the illegal live streaming of matches for the 2020/2021 season. The High Court granted a "live blocking" injunction (live blocking order) to UEFA requiring the ISPs to block access to intellectual property (IP) addresses making UEFA's copyright works available without their consent. The High Court granted the injunction under section 40(5A) of the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000. UEFA sought the orders in proceedings against Eircom, trading as Eir, Sky Ireland Ltd, Sky Subscribers Services Ltd, Virgin Media Ireland Ltd and Vodafone Ireland Ltd. The Sky companies supported UEFA's application; the other parties neither supported nor opposed the application.

Legal Basis for the Order

The High Court relied on the Court of Appeal judgment in Sony Music Entertainment (Ireland) Ltd & Ors v. UPC Communications Ireland Ltd [2016] IECA 231 where the relevant legal test for the granting of live blocking orders was set out. That test was described in the later High Court decision of The Football Association Premier League Limited v Eircom & Others [2019] IEHC 615 as follows:

  1. it must be necessary
  2. the costs involved must not be excessive or disproportionate and the order itself should not be unduly complicated
  3. the cost sharing proposals must be fair and reasonable
  4. the order must respect the fundamental rights of the parties affected, including internet users, and
  5. the duration of the order and the provisions for review must be reasonable.

In seeking the live blocking order, UEFA claimed that matches, including certain international fixtures and games in the Champions League and Europa League, were being shown in Ireland and elsewhere on computers...

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