Legal Updates – FA entitled to Injunction

Intellectual Property – Copyright – FA Premier League – Streaming – Copyright Infringement

 

In the recent case of Football Association Premier League Ltd v British Sky Broadcasting Ltd and others [2013] EWHC 2058, it was decided that the Football Association Premier League Ltd (“FA”) was entitled to an injunction against the six main UK internet service providers (“ISPs”). The injunction requires the ISPs to take measures to block or impede access by their customers to the website, FirstRow, which breaches the FA’s copyright works by streaming broadcasts of the Premier League matches.

 

Background

 

  • FA owns the copyright in the recording of television footage of all Premier League matches, including the artistic works that appear in the footage;
  • British Sky Broadcasting Ltd and others, including Everything Everywhere Ltd and Virgin Media Limited constitute the six main ISPs in the UK;
  • The website known as, FirstRow Sports, is operated as an indexing and aggregation portal to streamed broadcasts of sporting events. The site is currently located at www.firstrow.1.eu;
  • The site offers users a list of sporting events, including Premier League matches without the FA’s permission;
  • The FA sought an injunction under section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (“the Act”) for the ISPs to block access to FirstRow.

 

The Law

 

Under section 97A of the Act, the High Court can “grant an injunction against a service provider, where that service provider has actual knowledge of another person using their service to infringe copyright”.

 

Issues

 

Four matters had to be established before he Court could make the order sought by the FA, namely:

 

  1. Whether the defendants were service providers?
  2. Whether users and/or operators of FirstRow were infringing the FA’s copyrightworks?
  3. Whether users and/or operators of FirstRow used the defendants’ services used the ISPs services to infringe the FA’s copyright works; and
  4. Whether the defendants had actual knowledge of the infringement.

 

Outcome

 

The Court decided that:

 

  1. The defendants are “service providers” within the meaning of regulation 2 of the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002.
  2. FirstRow communicates FA’s copyright works to the public in the UK thereby infringing the FA’s copyright works;
  3. In reliance on previous case law, both users and operators of FirstRow used the ISPs services to infringe the FA’s copyright works;
  4. The defendants had actual knowledge by way of detailed letters sent by the FA’s solicitors, which included the evidence relied upon by the FA in its application for an injunction.

 

Accordingly, the court made the orders that the FA requested.

 


For any advice on copyright or IP law issues, you may contact us by email enquiries@rtcooperssolicitors.com. Visit http://www.rtcoopers.com/practice_intellectualproperty.php; www.rtcoopersiplaw.com or consider our article on How to Defend Allegations of Passing Off.

 

© RT COOPERS, 2013. This Briefing Note does not provide a comprehensive or complete statement of the law relating to the issues discussed nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight general issues. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in relation to particular circumstances.

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