If you, or anyone you know, got given a seemingly-magic set-top box with the ability to watch pirated football streams this Christmas, you might want to look away. Just like the Premier League before it, UEFA has now secured a court order that lets it block illegal IPTV streams of its matches here in the UK.
You may remember that the Premier League received an injunction from the High Court earlier this year, letting it target websites, IPTV channels, and Kodi plugins that illegally rebroadcasted Premier League football games to people. While it wasn't 100 per cent effective, there were visible consequences as a large number of high profile streams were taken down on match days.
Now UEFA has a similar deal, meaning it can instruct UK ISPs to block this stuff on its behalf. The blocking is also done in real time, which means ISPs can take down streams as and when they appear - even if that's right in the middle of a match. So it's not like certain torrent sites that can flip a switch and end up on a new domain a couple of hours later.
The actual technology used for this blocking isn't known, probably because making that information public will let the operators of pirate streams figure out easier ways to prevent it from happening. It is still possible to use VPN or proxy software to get round the blocks, but this naturally makes the process a lot more difficult. Both the Premier league and UEFA what the piracy to be difficult, so people will give up and pull out their credit cards for the legitimate options (if they're actually available).
UEFA's injunction is supported by both the Premier League and the Formula One World Championship, with the backing all the UK's major ISPs - except TalkTalk who didn't offer approval or complaint during the court process. The only real difference is that UEFA's injunction contains "an additional safeguard" against over-blocking, which deals with sending so many different IP addresses to ISPs that certain servers end up being blocked by mistake - even though the judge noted that there's no evidence that existing injunctions have been hugely guilty of this.
UEFA's injunction kicks on in 13th February 2018, and expires on May 26th - a period that by pure coincidence covers the entirety of the Champion's League. [TorrentFreak via Engadget]