The Dutch District Court in The Hague has ordered internet hosting provider Ecatel to stop providing any services that facilitate the viewing of illegal streams of Premier League football, and could face a fine of up to €1.5 million if it refuses to do so.
The Premier League took legal action against Ecatel after it repeatedly ignored warnings from the League that by hosting and providing access to servers for illegal streams of its content it was acting unlawfully.
This judgment stated the League’s broadcasts are eligible for copyright protection, that the League owns the copyright, and that by providing services and servers used for making illegal streams available to viewers, Ecatel broke the law.
The Premier League’s action against Ecatel is part of a wide-ranging copyright protection programme that has included the League successfully obtaining a High Court blocking order preventing illegal streams being broadcast in the UK, working with Spanish authorities to shut-down illegal ISPs, and action in Thailand and Singapore against sellers of illicit streaming devices that provided access to illegal broadcasts of Premier League football.
“This is a crucial judgment for the Premier League, and for other sports and rights holders. It sends a clear message to rogue server and hosting providers that by facilitating illegal streams they themselves can be subject to legal action,” said Premier League director of legal services, Kevin Plumb.
“An injunction and financial penalties of up to €1.5 million is a clear warning to others operating in this area, and provides the basis on which we can now take action against other dedicated server providers or illegal ISPs across Europe as part of our global protection work.”