FOOTBALL

UEFA praises Kenya’s decision to block pirate streaming sites

Streaming of pirated sports content, now restricted

TOPSHOT - Real Madrid's Brazilian defender Danilo heads the ball during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, second leg football match Real Madrid FC vs AS Roma at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on March 8, 2016. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images)

UEFA, the body governing football in Europe has expressed its support for Kenya’s decision to ban websites that promote sports piracy.

Referencing a recent decision by the High Court, UEFA cited the order to direct Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Kenya to permanently bar the sites as a step forward in the right direction.

UEFA fully supports the injunction issued by the Kenya High Court to protect media rights owned by MultiChoice. It is a major step forward in the fight against audiovisual piracy in the region. The protection of our intellectual property and the legitimate interests of our rights holders is a top priority for our organisation,” said UEFA marketing director, Guy-Laurent Epstein.

The decision was reached out on June 23 following a petition by MultiChoice Kenya lodged in 2019. The company had moved to court seeking Safaricom PLC and Jamii Telecom Limited to restrict the pirated streaming of sports content on their network.

We have been fighting for years to ensure that there are legal copyright protections and that those protections are enforced. The court has reaffirmed the stance of the law that copyright must be protected,” said MultiChoice Kenya Managing Director, Nancy Matimu.

UEFA reiterated what MultiChoice Kenya said, highlighting that it was a historic move. The European body further referenced Kenya’s copyright law which under Section 35B (1) allows for an infringed entity to petition an ISP to remove any copyrighted content on their networks.

“The resolution of the landmark case, and following submissions made by interested parties including UEFA, marks the first time that a Kenyan court has sanctioned the issuance of takedown notices under provisions of its copyright legislation,” read UEFA’s statement in part.

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