Online content streams are often a problem for content producers. Usually these streams display pirated content, thus resulting in monetary losses for the content producers. Premier League has now revealed that during the last season, it clamped down on 30,000 online streams displaying television matches.
According to the league, illegal streaming has been quite a problem and that it is seeking to make use of newer anti-piracy laws to discourage the offenders or if they continue their streams, having them punished.
Most of the illegal streams are somehow linked to pirated content from providers of such content. The content, in itself, is usually ripped off from foreign broadcasts of the game. However, those who run these illegal streams claim their innocence. According to them, they simply provide the stream, not the content itself which is provided by others.
According to the manager of one such sports streaming site, “If a person walked up to me in the street and asked directions to Barclays Bank and then went there and robbed it, would that make me a co-conspirator in a bank robbery? In reality the person who is doing the streaming is the person who authorities should be chasing.”
On the other hand, Premier League wants soccer fans to know that good football needs money from the content’s intellectual rights. According to a spokesperson for the league, ” If you want top quality football, it costs money. It’s not just about star performers getting paid well, it’s about investment in facilities and youth development.”
The league hired the help of Netresult, a company which can find illegal streaming sites online and have them shut down. According to a firm’s official, ” It is a case of ‘whack-a-mole’. One disappears and another one comes back online. I’m sure people who’ve tried to view Premier League content have found that it’s not the best experience. Streams can lag, they can be shut down, you have to find another one.”
Indeed streams are not a good option when it comes to the quality of the content. Nonetheless, if content distribution models continue to be unaffordable for a large enough number of people, illegal streams would continue to exist and thrive online.