Sky TV prevents hundreds from watching free on-line streams

Sky’s ongoing crackdown on viewers who stream paid content – like Sky Sports, Sky Cinema and exclusive Sky shows like The Undoing, Westworld and Game Of Thrones – for free and without permission has taken a dramatic new turn. In recent years, successive court-ordered blocks have made it more difficult to access premium content without paying for the privilege.

The pirated shows, accessed via hyperlinks sent to paying subscribers, were categorized with labels so that users simply had to click on the title they wanted to see.

In a ruling, the Court of Session issued a preliminary injunction – a Scottish term used to describe an injunction – preventing Alex Cherrie from infringing Sky’s copyright in the future. Failure to comply with the ruling could mean jail time for the Scotsman, the court warned.

This landmark case means those who regularly scanned YouTube streams about Cherrie’s deadly shows are now prevented from viewing any more content. Shows offered through Cherries Links included Gangs of London, Cop Squad, Thronecast, the Russell Howard Hour, Portrait Artist of the Year and a League of their own.

In her ruling, The Hon Lady Wolffe said: “The defense counsel’s activities show violations on a large scale. The Defender has more than 51,000 users on the subreddits and 95,000 users on the YouTube account. The number of users of the subreddits continues to grow: between July and November 2020, there was a growth of 17%. There could be no legitimate purpose in the defender’s activities on the two online platforms other than to benefit financially from his 19 repeated copyright infringements. Violation of this volume severely affects the pursuer’s business model. “

Some experts now believe that this case could mean that streaming content online without permission could become even more difficult in the future.

Commenting on the case, Kieron Sharp, former police officer and CEO of FACT, said: “This is another milestone in the fight against piracy and will set a positive precedent for future hearings. We have seen a significant increase in popular online forums like Reddit that are used to illegally stream and pirate content. Hence, it is encouraging to see that for the first time ever a user is held accountable for illegally sharing content on the platform. This is yet another example of the measures taken against a myriad of different illegal streaming activities.

“Piracy is not a gray area – it is illegal and has consequences not only for consumers but also for those who upload content. This case will help consumers understand the very real risks associated with content piracy. “

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