Thursday, May 11, 2006
Ruling against unauthorised streaming on Internet of sports fixtures

The European soccer body UEFA won a case at the High Court in the UK over the illegal streaming of UEFA Champions League matches via the internet.

UEFA issued proceedings in March this year in the High Court in England against the owners and operators of a series of websites which were “streaming” soccer matched organised by UEFA without the latter’s authorisation.

The claim alleged infringement of copyright in the broadcasts and all the separate ancillary copyright works included in those broadcasts, namely the music, the on-screen graphics, the sponsored video sequences and the “Starball” logo.

At Court last Friday 5 May, Mr Justice Lindsay granted summary judgment, issued a permanent injunction restraining the broadcasting of UEFA matches over the internet, ordered the confiscation of all equipment used in the pirating process as well as ordering that the defendants pay the substantial costs of the claim with the precise level of damages to be assessed.

Commenting on the decision UEFA CEO, Lars-Christer Olsson, said: “This is a landmark decision in favour of UEFA and of rights holders everywhere. We see this as a major victory against the unauthorised and illegal streaming of UEFA Champions League matches over the internet, and therefore a full endorsement for the protection of the rights of the official broadcasters who have purchased the right to show these matches.”