With the start of the new Premier League season the fight against illegal IPTV streams has stepped up, with ISPs being told to block streams of copyright content in real time.
The result was a large amount of disruption for those using these Kodi or web-based streams over the first weekend of the new season.
In fact, TorrentFreak reports that several streams went dark within minutes of matches starting, leaving providers of the illegal streams to scramble to find new domains to host their content.
Football streams present a unique challenge to copyright holders. If a pirate movie appears online for people to stream, then copyright holders can see a benefit of taking it down, even if the process takes weeks or months.
However when it comes to a livestream of a 90 minute sports match, there’s next to no benefit to a copyright holder if they take longer than an hour and a half to block the stream, as the damage will have already been done at that point.
Add to this the fact that live sports are still often locked behind paywalls that other premium TV content has escaped with streaming services like Now TV, and you have a perfect storm for piracy.
The fact that copyright holders are able to block these pirate streams so quickly has come down to a recent injunction that forces ISPs to block illegal streams in real time.
Combined with the recent closures of piracy-facilitating Kodi add-ons, it’s looking like the days of being able to easily stream premium sports content might be coming to a close, unless people are willing to use VPNs to evade the blocking abilities of UK ISPs.
However, with most VPNs costing a monthly subscription of their own, the cost-saving element of watching an illegal stream suddenly disappears.