On 16 July Mr Justice Arnold handed down his decision in FAPL v BSkyB in which he granted blocking injunctions against six major UK ISPs in relation to the FirstRow Sports website which streams live football matches. Further to the Newzbin and The Pirate Bay cases it was already clear that blocking injunctions against ISPs are a remedy available to rightsholders against peer-to-peer sharing websites. In FAPL v BSkyB the High Court has broadened the concept by applying blocking injunctions to streamed content.

FirstRow is an indexing and aggregation website which provides links to infringing streamed broadcasts of sporting events on third party websites.

Mr Justice Arnold (the only judge to have yet considered site blocking applications) applied the CJEU's reasoning in ITV v TVCatchup and concluded that the underlying websites providing the sporting content did communicate that work to the public and that the communication occurred in (at least) the UK. He also held that although FirstRow merely indexed and provided links to the content, because the stream was presented in a frame provided by FirstRow, it was also responsible for communicating the works to the public (at least as a joint tortfeasor if not also as an infringer in its own right).

Accordingly the injunctions against the ISPs were granted.

It seems clear that the Art 8(3) site blocking jurisdiction is now well and truly established in the UK, though its true scope has yet to be fully considered at appeal level so cannot be finally known.

Please see here for the full judgment.

Case Reference: Football Association Premier League Ltd v British Sky Broadcasting Ltd and others [2013] EWHC 2058 (Ch), 16 July 2013.