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New piracy lawsuit paves way for FIFA World Cup ban order * TorrentFreak

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Bell Media and several other companies have sued two “John Doe” streaming server operators in Canadian federal court. The rights holders want to take measures to reduce the availability of pirated sports streams during the upcoming soccer World Cup. The attacked services were allegedly indexed by popular streaming aggregators such as soccerstreamlinks.com and Bingsport.

ball oldIn November, billions of people from all over the world will tune in to watch the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Most viewers will do so through authorized services, but events like this also attract huge pirate audiences. In anticipation, several Canadian media outlets are taking legal action.

Blocking FIFA World Cup pirates

A few days ago, media giant Bell Media requested an injunction against two “John Doe” operators of sports streaming services that are expected to broadcast the soccer World Cup. The operators are only identified by the IP addresses through which they publish these streams.

Bell’s TSN4 network owns the rights to the FIFA broadcasts and the company intends to take a pre-emptive action with this lawsuit.

The services of the John Doe defendants previously streamed Major League Soccer games without permission. And since they continue to broadcast the plaintiffs’ channels, it’s likely they’ll stream the World Cup to their viewers as well.

“Defendants are operators of unauthorized streaming servers providing unauthorized access in Canada to plaintiffs’ stations broadcasting live FIFA World Cup matches for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022,” the plaintiffs write.

Two sports streaming operators

The first defendant makes pirated content available through servers in the British Virgin Islands, Russia and the United Kingdom. These are hosted by providers incorporated in the British Virgin Islands and Ukraine.

The pirated streams appeared on various public sports piracy websites, including bingsport.xyz and papahd.club, and via link aggregator websites such as soccerstreamlinks.com, redditsoccerstream.org, and soccerstream.net.

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Defendant number two has servers that are physically located in Belize and are hosted by a company from the same country. These streams are available through sportsway.me and various link aggregators including redditsoccerstreams.org and reddit1.soccerstreams.net.

Injunction wanted

In addition to Bell Media, the list of plaintiffs includes The Sports Network, CTV Specialty Television and Réseau des Sports. Together, the media companies are petitioning the federal court in Montreal for damages and an injunction to stop the infringing activities.

In particular, they want the operators to “provide access to unauthorized streaming servers or allow or enable access to live streams of live matches of the FIFA World Cup in Canada”.

It is questionable whether this temporary injunction is sufficient to deter pirates. On the other hand, if John Does doesn’t respond in court, it could very well be the reason for a new website ban request from rightsholders.

Previous blocking orders in Canada were also issued as part of lawsuits against operators, which corresponds to a similar constellation as here.

Blocking the world cup pirate site?

Canada’s federal court approved the country’s first order to block pirate sites four years ago. Most ISPs have not challenged the ban request, but TekSavvy has fought tooth and nail, arguing that it threatens the open Internet.

TekSavvy’s appeals are stranded earlier this year after the Supreme Court declined to hear the case. This was a major setback, according to Andy Kaplan-Myrth, vice president of regulatory affairs, who prophetically said it would lead to more ban requests from major media outlets.

“Now armed with GoldTV-style commands, […] What’s stopping Canada’s media giants from forcing more and more ISPs to block more and more copyrighted content? Nothing; expect it to happen,” Kaplan-Myrth said at the time.

In fact, the first new blocking order was issued shortly thereafter. In June, Canada’s federal court issued a “dynamic” blocking order following a complaint from several rightsholders. This injunction aims to prevent live NHL games from being viewed via IPTV piracy services.

With this latest push to deter FIFA World Cup piracy, another website blocking order is now in the pipeline.

A copy of the Complaint, filed by Bell, The Sports Network, CTV Specialty Television and Réseau des Sports, is available here (pdf)

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