Premier League strikes another blow in fight against piracy
By Jonathan Rest
English soccer's Premier League has received a significant boost in the fight against piracy, after all of its content was removed from Ronaldo7.net, one of the UK's most popular websites for illegal streaming.
Ronaldo7.net, which has been pirating matches for the past five years, has been the subject of a wider Premier League investigation, which led to a corporate investigator working on behalf of the league tracking down the website's operations and issuing a cease and desist letter.
Sportcal understands that Ronaldo7.net, which has had 56 million visits this year alone, of which around 25 per cent have originated from the UK, has bowed to the Premier League and not posted links to any of the league's games for the past five rounds of fixtures.
Nick Noble, head of news and corporate communications at the Premier League, told Sportcal: "We are currently undertaking a significant global anti-piracy programme to protect our rights. This includes obtaining a ground-breaking High Court blocking order in the UK, working with authorities in South-East Asia to disrupt the sale of illicit streaming devices, and stopping sites like Ronaldo7.net from illegally streaming our content.”
The action against Ronaldo7.net is part of a major Premier League anti-piracy programme. A season-long High Court blocking order is already in place forcing UK ISPs to block streams, while internationally the league has worked with Thai authorities to support their investigations of major suppliers of illegal set-top boxes, and with Spanish police to help shut down an illegal ISP in recent years.
In January, the Premier League was granted an injunction in the Netherlands forcing internet service provider Ecatel to stop providing services to operations that enable viewing of illegal streams of its matches.
Indeed, piracy was cited as one of the reasons why the Premier League opted for Singapore as te location for its first international office in January, noting at the time: "The Premier League’s anti-piracy efforts in Asia have already been extensive and include blocking action against illegal apps in Singapore, the commencement of criminal action against suppliers of illicit streaming devices and very recently, working with the Thai authorities to support raids of suppliers of illicit streaming devices. The league is also a member of the Coalition Against Piracy which represents the creative industries across the region."
The Premier League has also been at the forefront of the global fight against beoutQ, the Saudi Arabia-based pirate channel, which has been stealing the content of international pay-television broadcaster BeIN Sports, the legitimate rights-holder of the English top flight in the Middle East and North Africa, until 2022.