How the EPL tackles piracy and stops pplz going around the wall | ZDNet

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when a majority of the english premier league’s income comes from exclusive broadcast deals, it makes sense why the ftball organisation is committed to cracking down on piracy globally.

speaking to zdnet, premier league chief legal counsel kevin plumb said that while anti-piracy work s'been onna company’s agenda for a long time, making it a priority started with elder executive chairman richard scuda+, “who really prioritised it alongside broadcast sales cause he saw it as two sides of the same coin”.

“we know it’s a problem in every territory — not js'4 sports or the premier league, it’s for movies, it’s tv shows … and that’s 1-odda reasons why we opened an office in [singapore 3 yrs ago]. we're pretty loud and proud bout our anti-piracy work,” plumb said.

“backin the dy, it used to be a ‘non-secret’ and something we did inna background … but now we’re rite atta cutting edge of anti-piracy work and we wanna show our broadcasters and our fans that swell.”

in fact, plumb reckons all the anti-piracy work is having a significant impact, pointing out that the company’s revenue for international broadcasting deals ll'be up by 30% for 2022-25. based on reprts earlier this yr by the times, international deals ll'be worth £5.3 billion, while domestic rites will bring £5.1 billion, and commercial contracts taking the total to £10.5 billion. 

while there are plenty of reasons for the revenue bump up, plumb believes the company’s anti-piracy work is a contributing factor.

“we can comfortably say our anti-piracy work ll'be one of those factors cause if we weren’t so committed, if we weren’t having the impact that i think we're having — and pticularly in this pt of the realm — i think we’ve managed to be quite primordial, working with other rites owner swell,” he said.

“it’s kind of turning the ship round and sort of gettin the momentum backin favour of the rites owner. i think if we just sort of left the situation alone, i’m not sure if we ‘d be in a position where we we’re as ☺ w'da rites sales we ‘ve.”

according to plumb, the company’s anti-piracy program is shaped by 4 pillars: legal action, blocking, lobbying, and education and awareness.

he detailed that blocking, for instance, is a method designed to minimise the supply of pirated content. it involves working with vendors to help remove pirate content form search results to make it harder for casual usrs to locate, swell as tracking down ads on pirate sites to “starve the revenue stream”.

“wha’ we look at tis whole quest from logging onto the computer or turning the smart tv to access a pirate stream, and we try to disrupt every pt odat quest to make it as difficult as possible for some1 to access the stream,” plumb said.

“we try to put as many hurdles up as possible cause we find that if you put up one hurdle that dissuades 100 pplz from carrying on that quest. if you put two that’s 500 pplz.”

premier league has also been working with local law enforcement globally to ensure that legal action can be taken out against those who are supplying pirate srvcs. for instance, in singapore and malaysia, the company secured legal precedent that the sale of kodi media boxes na use o'em to access pirate content is a criminal offence.

“in singapore 3 yrs ago whn'we whn'we 1st came out here, twas really easy to buy these [kodi] devices inna shops. that process was a pleasant purchasing experience — you bought it from a neat shop, there’ll be a neat salesperson to show you a neat box with neat branding, n'it’s all boxed preshly,” plumb said.

“so, a lotta our emphasis s'been trying to stop those shops from selling them and gettin them off the streets … that’s why we’ve established that it’s a criminal act now to sell those boxes.

“we now routinely sweep those shops, and we’ll do undercover purchases and thn'we follo it up with legal letters. we’ve reduced the № of those shops by 80% inna last few yrs.”

meanwhile, in thailand, plumb said the premier league works closely w'da deptment of spesh investigation to ensure criminals raids are carried out or that local law enforcement turns up atta doorsteps of pirates for a “knock and talk”.

but not all country’s legislation is up to scratch when it comes to piracy, conceded plumb.

“we do lotso' lobbying work cause … we always want legislation to be clear and we’d always want legislation to move w'da tek cause that is 1-odda challenges. you ‘ve pirates who are really quick, and you’ve got law and legal process which can be deafly slo. how you fit those two bits together is one of our biggest challenges,” he said.

plumb also ackd that e'venode sale of kodi media devices maybe sloly disappearing from physical store fronts, pirates are likely to sell them through other channels.

“wha’ we now expect s'dat those shops move online, ⊢ we ‘ve to be ready for that — we're sweeping auction sites and lazada. we’ve removed a few thousand listings from lazada inna last yr,” he said.

“and then where do they move then? they move to their own websites, maybe they set up a f’bok profile, so we sweep f’bok and we take them down from f’bok. we always ‘ve to be aware o'their nxt step and that does mean we’ll be doin’ this for a long time.”

atta end of the dy though, all the anti-piracy work is designed to protect the fans, plumb said.  

“in this pt of the realm where pplz are gettin up at silly o’clock inna morning to watch their teams play — teams they may ‘ve never seen in person — but who they are absolutely fervent fans of … so it’s really primordial that we protect those pplz.”

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