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BT, Sky, Virgin Media, TalkTalk and EE to block First Row Sports – UPDATED

The Premier League has secured a High Court order requiring the UK’s biggest ISPs to block football streaming site First Row Sports. 

The High Court ruled that the website, which didn’t host any live streams directly, was acting jointly with third party streaming services that broadcast public live footage of Premier League games. 

A Premier League spokesperson said: “We are extremely pleased that the order blocking this website has been granted and we will be enforcing it, in conjunction with the ISPs, ahead of the 2013/14 Barclays Premier League season. 

BT, Sky, Virgin Media, TalkTalk and EE to block First Row Sports
Red Card: Facilitator of free live football streams First Row Sports has been handed a full match ban by the Premier League

Read Recombu Digital’s guides on how to watch Sky Sports and BT Sport“It is absolutely imperative that content industries are afforded protection under the law if they are to continue investing in the sort of quality talent and facilities that has made them successful and of interest in the first place.” 

We first got wind of the Premier League’s desires to block the site back in June. Typically, ISPs need to block the site within 14 days of receiving instruction to do so. It’s understood that the Premier League wanted the site blocked before the latest season began in August. Given that the action isn’t due to kick off until a month tomorrow – Saturday, August 17 – it looks like the FA got the result they were looking for.

The Premier League spokesperson added that it will crack down on any pubs or bars showing live football through non-legit channels:

“The Premier League will be significantly upping its enforcement activity in this area in the coming months, so any publican who is being offered a service that is not either BSkyB or BT Vision should be aware that these are illegal and they open themselves up to the possibility of prosecution.”

The ruling marks the first time that an order has been granted against a website that provides access to other illegal streaming third parties, paving the way for similar blockades in the future. 

Update: It doesn’t look like any court orders have been received by any of the big ISPs just yet. A Virgin Media spokesperson said: “As a responsible ISP we obey court orders when addressed to the company but we have not received one for this site.” 

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