Illegal sports p2p streaming to get the boot

Written by Ryan Garside

November 29, 2006 // 12:17 p.m.

Tags: #bbc #football #free #live #sky #stream #streaming #television #tv

The BBC has an interesting article over in its entertainment section that examines the football authorities moved to stop illegal p2p live football and other sports being shared on the internet.

At the moment many sites, like Free Football.org or WatchLiveFootball.com offer links to both the software used to watch the p2p games, as well as links to the streams for each particular game. Despite the fact that the games are usually streamed in fairly low quality, often with a Chinese commentator, lots of people are using the service to illegally watch Premier League football for free.

Club fansites with active forum communities, such as CFCnet, will share the links to one another. The live football service is particularly tantalising in that it allows people to not only watch almost every single Premiership game but also gives football fans access to matches that aren't televised at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon.

The loser in all this is Sky TV, a company which provides huge financial support to the football league as well as other sports (which are also available for free through the streaming sites). As a result the sporting authorities have moved to try and get the sites shut down by employing the services of NetResult. NetResult will now try to hunt out these sites and put a stop to all the free sports coverage.

With the freedom of the internet though, it is unclear whether it will ever be possible to fully stop the free access. A spokesman for NetResult, Tim Cooper, said this to the BBC:

"We're gradually working the numbers down and down, so unfortunately it's a bit of a lengthy process. You could shut a website down today but tomorrow another 10 will appear. We're fighting a continual battle because people will always try and jump on and off certain services and new technology is always evolving."

Stopping the p2p coverage will only be half the battle. Currently you can download almost every single Premiership goal from popular video sharing websites like Google Video or Youtube, often before the videos are available on traditional television. How the sports authorities will overcome such a problem is unclear at the moment.

Will NetResult ever manage to stop illegal sports video sharing? Let us know your thoughts in the forum.

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