The IP Of The Tiger

On 20 September 2018, the High Court gave a judgement and granted an injunction to block servers that were being used to stream broadcasts of boxing matches, in infringement of copyright.

The Claimant, Matchroom Boxing Limited and others, applied to the High Court for injunctive relief to prevent live streams of its professional boxing matches.

One of the most recent examples of streaming, which Matchroom presented in evidence, were the large number of infringing streams that took place on Anthony Joshua’s most recent fight this year. Matchroom and Sky had exclusive licences to broadcast this footage but were deprived of substantial revenue due to the streaming.

During the judgement, Mr Justice Arnold referred to other injunctions he had previously granted on other sporting events, including Football Association Premier League Ltd v British Telecommunications plc [2017].

While the circumstances in the cases referred to were very similar to Matchroom’s case, Arnold J said that the order sought by Matchroom differed in the following 2 ways:

  1. The screened events were irregular in their timing, so that it was not possible for the relevant servers to be identified in the same way. Although the criteria set out in the order were very similar, they would be applied by a particular form of monitoring conducted in the seven days leading up to each event. Although this could in theory lead to over-blocking, the claimant's evidence was that in practice there should be no real difference in effect.

  2. It was not possible to list all the events in a particular season, as there was no boxing season as such, and events were not fixed far enough in advance. The order therefore provided for the defendants to be given at least four weeks' notice of each event.

Regardless of these differences, Arnold J granted the order as it was deemed proportionate in all the circumstances, as it did not impair the rights of the defendants ISPs to carry on business. As the legitimate aim was to prevent the infringement of Matchroom and Sky’s rights on a large scale, it was deemed proportionate to limit the extent that internet users can impart and receive information.

To read the full judgement, you can read it here. 

If you would like to speak to a member of our IP team, within Dispute Resolution, please call 0161 941 4000.