Order to block FirstRow web access

Premier LeagueThe Premier League has obtained High Court orders to block streaming site FirstRow Sports from providing web access to live streams of football matches for free.

A judge sitting in London ruled the injunction, which will also impact on other sports, was justified as the operators of the "very popular" website were making millions of pounds from copyright infringement.
The application for an injunction came from the Football Association Premier League Ltd (FAPL), which owns the copyright in broadcast recordings of all Premier League matches.

Allowing the FAPL application, the judge said FirstRow was "profiting from infringement on a large scale" by making match broadcasts available "to persons who are not entitled to view them either because they have not subscribed to the broadcaster's service, or because the broadcaster has only been licensed by FAPL for a different territory".

The injunction is against the UK's six main retail internet service providers (ISPs) - British Sky Broadcasting, BT, Everything Eveywhere, TalkTalk, Telefonica UK and Virgin Media.

Chancery Division judge Mr Justice Arnold said his orders require the ISPs to take measures "to block or at least impede" access by their customers to the FirstRow website.

The judge said the ISPs did not oppose the making of the orders and had agreed to their terms. But the court still had to decide whether the orders were justified.

The FirstRow ban has been obtained before the start of the next Premier League season, which kicks off on Saturday August 17.

The judge said the FAPL application was supported by eight other organisations including rightholders for golf, darts, snooker and rugby, as well as other football bodies. All had provided witness statements confirming that FirstRow was not licensed by them to exploit their copyright in matches.

FirstRow was a website operating for some time through a number of domain names, some of which had been seized by the US Department of Homeland Security, said the judge.The streams indexed on FirstRow were provided by third-party streamers using one of a number of user-generated websites (UGCs).

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Order to block FirstRow web access

Little surprise that football's wonder-kid is in at number one, with a whopping £27.5 million of earnings over the last year. As well as some truly astounding performances for Barcelona, Messi has a signature clothing range with Adidas and is set to become the new cover star for EA sports games.

The Portuguese captain is not only the most expensive player in the world, he's also got more followers of Twitter than any other sportsman. Combine that with an huge ongoing deal with Nike and he's raking in £24.3 million.

The Cameroon international made his name in La Liga, playing for Barcelona, but sees his earnings shoot up in a multi-million pound deal with Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala which brings his pay to £19.4 million.

Recently retired Beckham is the highest earner in British sport, according to the Sunday Times Sport Rich List. 'Brand Beckham' that has seen the 38-year-old amass a fortune of £165 million from endorsement deals and salary payments from his company, Footwork Productions, over the last decade. But Beckham is still some way off the richest sportsman in the world - golfer Tiger Woods, who is worth a staggering £570m.

Despite a year of scandal for Manchester United's star striker, he's in the top five highest earners for the first time in his career - and his pay? A healthy £17.2 million.

The Argentinian is one of the real high-rollers at Manchester City, and has made his performances match his impressive salary. Combine that with a Puma sponsorship and he's on £15.7 million.

Aguero's team mate is another top performer at City, and he also has deal with Puma. One of football's good guys, Toure donates all his Puma boot sponsorship money to charity - which still leaves him with £14.7 million.

The baby-faced Spaniard might have had a tough time of things since his move to Chelsea, but the tidy sum they pay him means he's in the top ten for the first time - with £13.9 million of earnings from wages and sponsorship from Nike and Pepsi.

With a very tidy pay cheque from Real Madrid and sponsorship deals with EA sports and Adidas, Kaka is on a very comfortable £12.9 million.

The new German captain and a star at Bayern Munich, his recent success has propelled him into the top ten for the first time, with a very tidy £11.9 million.


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