Illegal streaming sees music and sports organisations flood High Court with copyright claims


Music and sports bodies are flooding the High Court with copyright claims to combat the rise of illegal streaming, new research shows.

The three organisations with the most claims for copyright infringement in the High Court last year were all in the music or sports industries, according to data compiled by professional services firm RPC.

Football rights holders such as Sky and BT have launched a crackdown against pub and restaurant companies, who are allegedly showing unlicensed TV channels or using illegal streaming services.

Music licensing company Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) brought the most copyright cases in 2017, with 88, while the Football Association was the second most litigious with 36 cases. 

Sky and BT are also in the top 10 most frequent claimants with 12 and 11 cases in the High Court respectively.

The internet continues to upend the music industry’s business model, making it more essential for companies in the sector to pursue any possible source of revenue from businesses using their material.

As a result, litigating against those not paying in full for copyrighted material has become an increasingly popular option for the music industry and its artists to maximise revenues, RPC said

Paul Joseph, a partner at RPC said: “Protecting copyright continues to be a top priority for those holding the rights to music and football.

“As the value of football broadcast rights has ballooned over the last two decades, so has the importance to rights holders of protecting their intellectual property.”

Companies also hope that bringing cases to the High Court will also send a strong message to other illegal streamers, RPC added.  

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