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Premier League to Force UK ISPs into Blocking FirstRow1 Website

Monday, Jun 24th, 2013 (7:35 am) - Score 1,207

The Premier League (Football) is to follow the tactics used by other Rights Holders (e.g. BPI and MPA) and intends to seek a court order that would force broadband ISPs in the United Kingdom to block their customers from being able to access the Sweden-based FirstRow1 website.

FirstRow1 (FirstRowSports) is typically used to stream video of football matches, which can usually only be viewed through a commercial subscription to Sky (Sky Broadband), BT (BTSport) or anybody else whom happens to serve the related sports content via similar TV services. As a result the website is widely considered to be a facilitator of internet piracy (copyright infringement).

The Premier League is understood to have already advised all of the major broadband providers about its intention to seek a court order. The ISPs now have until Friday to signal whether or not they intend to challenge the action, although these days most providers tend to just sit back and wait for the order to arrive.

However FirstRowSports claims that it “merely displays links to audiovisual content located on servers of third parties and provided and/or transmitted by third parties” and does not host or control the content itself, which is a similar argument to the one used by The Pirate Bay (TPB) and other previously blocked sites.

The FirstRowSports Position

Of course FirstRowSports is concerned about allegations that illegal content is made available on the websites to which hyperlinks on its website direct. Although FirstRowSports cannot actively monitor the content which is transmitted via third party websites, it is willing to take action in removing links to illegal content upon obtaining proper notice thereof.

FirstRowSports will remove links to illegal content from its website expeditiously, however, it cannot prevent that links are replaced by visitors of its website.”

If successful then the Premier League will most likely aim to target other websites in the future and there are certainly quite a few around. But such measures remain incredibly easy to circumvent and as a result could run the risk of helping to advertise content sources that some might find appealing.

In related news the BE Usergroup has reported that customers of BE Broadband (now owned by Sky Broadband) can now access all previously blocked websites again, although it’s not clear why this has occurred (probably just a bug).

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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