London
04 July 2017
Reporter: Barney Dixon

A third of Premier League fans illegally stream


More than a third of Premier League fans regularly watch matches through unofficial streams online, with nearly a quarter of all fans using special technology, including Kodi boxes, according to a BBC Radio 5 live survey.

The BBC spoke to 1,000 self-confessed Premier League fans who reported viewing football online between 7 and 15 March. Some 36 percent of respondents said they stream matches through unofficial providers at least once a month, with 22 percent saying they illegally stream at least once a week.

Nearly half, 47 percent, of respondents admitted to watching a match through an unofficial provider at least once.

The survey also discovered that younger fans were more likely to use unofficial providers, with 65 percent of 18 to 34 year olds streaming at least once a month, compared to 33 percent of 35 to 54 year olds and just 13 percent for over 55s.

The Premier League was granted a live-blocking order against the UK’s biggest internet service providers in March. The order lasted the duration of the 2016-17 Premier League season and targeted specific server IP addresses and new streaming methods such as IPTV boxes and media players such as Kodi.

In April, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled pirated streams illegal to watch. The court also targeted any media player marketed and sold with pre-installed software allowing access to pirated content, as infringing.

Facebook then banned the sale of IPTV boxes on its platforms, leading to a developer exodus for the Kodi TV box, which saw several add-on developers abandon the streaming box.

Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) Chief Executive, Kieron Sharp, said the ruling was a “step forward in the right direction for the creative industries”.

“It should sent a strong and clear message to the public that this is not a grey area and that anyone using a device to illegally access film, TV, or sports, is breaking the law,” he said.

On the BBC survey, Sharp said: “People need to be aware that this is no longer a grey area, in fact it is very black and white. If you are accessing content for free such as sport, TV and films for which you’d normally need a subscription, or go to the cinema, or buy a DVD, this is illegal.”

“As the old saying goes, if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is.”

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