Premier League most active user of High Court in attempt to crackdown on copyright breaches

Football and music bodies are the most active users of the UK High Court as they try to crack down on copyright breaches, research published today shows.

The organisation that brought the most claims to the High Court last year was the Premier League, with 36 claims in the year to 31 March.

The Performing Rights Society brought the second highest number of claims with 25, research from law firm RPC shows.

Sky launched eight claims and music licensing company Phonographic Performance bought six claims, making them the fifth and seventh most frequent High Court claimants.

Many of the claims are cases brought against pubs, bars and restaurant businesses.

The pubs and bars that faces these claims are often accused of having show football matches or played recorded music without having the permission to do so, sometimes using illegal streams from the internet to avoid paying subscription fees.

In January three business owners were jailed for providing illegal streaming access to Premier League football matches to over 1,000 bars, pubs and homes in England and Wales.

Paul Joseph, partner at RPC, said: “Football authorities have made a concerted public effort to let illegal streamers know that they are on their case. They will hope that those considering breaching copyright law will think twice before doing so.”

“Rights holders will continue to use court action as a way of shutting out businesses who ‘steal’ their product for as long as is necessary. However, they will now hope that internet providers help them.”

“The internet created huge, almost existential, challenges to business models of owners of music, films and other content so it’s not surprising that rights owners and bodies that represent them do all they can to protect their businesses.”

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