HomeLifeWith good teamwork we can drive down piracy

With good teamwork we can drive down piracy

The Premier League is the world’s most watched football league, and roughly half its fan base and a quarter of its television audience is here in Asia. The support of fans is integral to the success of the Premier League, which is why we want to ensure they get the best possible viewing experience and stay safe from the risks that often come with illegal streaming. 

That’s why the Premier League’s first international office – which we opened in Singapore in 2019 – is collaborating with local authorities and lawmakers across the region, including here in Thailand, to tackle piracy. 

We carry out a wide array of activities to combat piracy, including blocking illegal websites and apps, bringing criminal and civil legal actions against suppliers of pirated content, and launching large-scale education campaigns for fans. Key to this are our strong partnerships and collaborations with local authorities and broadcasters, such as True Visions.

Working with authorities to bring pirates to justice.

Piracy is a crime the Thai government takes very seriously. At the Premier League’s 30th anniversary celebrations at the British Embassy in Bangkok earlier this year, Minister of Digital Economy and Society Chaiwut Thanakmanusorn emphasized the importance of preventing piracy and encouraging people to watch digital content through legal channels. He also pointed out the potential cybersecurity impacts of watching content or broadcasting football matches through infringing websites.

We wholeheartedly agree. That’s why the Premier League works to detect and monitor piracy and supports the work of local authorities and legislators by providing visibility around illegal streaming operations in Thailand. By providing local authorities with crucial information and evidence, the Premier League empowers them to take legal action against website operators and suppliers of illicit streaming devices in Thailand and across the region.

In 2019, the Premier League, working alongside the Attorney General and the Royal Thai Police’s Department of Special Investigations (DSI), successfully prosecuted a British man and Thai woman for running an illegal streaming service, as well as selling preloaded illicit streaming devices. The pair received suspended prison sentences of three and a half years and were ordered to pay over 25 million baht in fines, one of the biggest fines ever for piracy-related crimes in Thailand.

Collaborating with broadcasters to raise awareness of the cybersecurity risks.

In addition to tackling the supply of pirated content, the Premier League is also working with our partners to keep fans safe from the cybersecurity risks of accessing illegal material. While the vast majority of our fans do not pirate, those who do often get more than they bargained for.

Cybercrime is becoming an increasing concern across the region, including in Thailand. Last year, Thailand’s Digital Economy and Society Ministry, police force and other agencies froze over 120,000 telephone numbers and 60,000 bank accounts associated with cybercriminals[. Those who watch Premier League illegally are far from immune, potentially putting themselves at the mercy of these same cybercriminals who use an array of methods to compromise the devices of those pirating football.

Research by intellectual property and data analytics company White Bullet Solutions shows that 71% of the most popular pirate websites in Thailand for illegally watching the Premier League carry content that put fans at risk of fraud, contain malware or promote adult or gambling services. Meanwhile, it takes less than one minute for a device to be hacked by malware from a pirate site, according to Professor Paul Watters, a leading cybersecurity consultant at La Trobe University in Australia.

The Premier League is working with its partners to keep fans safe. Earlier this year, we partnered with True Visions to launch the “Boot Out Piracy” campaign across broadcast and digital channels in Thailand. The campaign features Premier League footballers – including Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold, Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan, Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy and Leeds United’s Jack Harrison – raising awareness of the security risks of viewing Premier League football on illegal websites and devices, while also drawing attention to the disrupted viewing experience on these services.  

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