Uefa wins UK High Court injunction to halt illegal streaming
Uefa, European soccer's governing body, has been granted a High Court injunction aimed at tackling illegal streaming of its club competitions in the UK.
A judge in London imposed the order, applied for by Uefa, against the six main retail internet service providers (ISPs) in the UK. It will come into effect on 13 February when the Champions League returns with the round-of-16 matches, and lasts until the final in Kiev on 26 May.
Although five of the ISPs supported the move, with a sixth neither supporting nor opposing the application, Mr Justice Arnold said he still had to decide whether an injunction was "justified."
The judge said Uefa's claim was for an injunction "requiring" the service providers "to take measures to block, or at least impede, access by their customers to streaming servers which deliver infringing live streams of Uefa competition matches to UK consumers".
Mr Justice Arnold said in a written decision: "The Uefa competitions are very popular with television viewers in the UK. This year's Champions League final attracted several million viewers.
"Uefa's evidence establishes that it owns the copyright in television broadcasts of all matches in the Uefa competitions, and in films (particularly replays), artistic works and musical works which are incorporated within those broadcasts."
Pay-TV's BT Sport holds exclusive Champions League and Europa League rights in the UK. Its present three-year, £897-million ($1.2-billion), deal expires at the end of this season, after which a new £1.18-billion deal comes into effect running until 2020-21.
For the past two seasons, it has streamed the finals of both competitions live on YouTube.