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It's a knock out – Matchroom scores a blocking injunction for boxing matches

26/09/2018
A blocking injunction has been granted to the sports event promoter, Matchroom, to block infringing streams of boxing matches.

A blocking injunction has been granted to the sports event promoter, Matchroom, to block infringing streams of boxing matches. (For details see the short High Court judgment here.)

Matchroom sought an order to prevent the illegal stream of live boxing matches. Matchroom organise a series of matches each year, which frequently include the British professional boxer, Anthony Joshua. One such match was the recent fight between Joshua and Alexander Povetkin on 22 September 2018. 

Matchroom has a series of exclusive agreements with Sky through which Matchroom owns the copyright of any match featuring Anthony Joshua (Sky owns the copyright for any other match and so Sky assigned the right to bring proceedings to Matchroom in respect of those particular matches). The matches are broadcast by Sky on a standard or pay-per-view ("PPV") basis. Illegal streams of live boxing matches infringe both Matchroom and Sky's rights, and there is evidence of a high number of streams being made available for Anthony Joshua fights – with both Matchroom and Sky losing significant revenue. 

An similar order was sought to that which the FAPL and UEFA have previously obtained in relation to infringing streams of football matches (we have blogged on these orders here and here). 

Although similar, Matchroom's order differed for two reasons: 

  1. Boxing matches are held irregularly, and often via a PPV service, and so it is not possible to easily identify Target Services (those which deliver infringing live streams to UK customers). Mr Justice Arnold therefore granted the order for a period of seven-day monitoring prior to each boxing match. The specific details of the monitoring have been kept confidential for obvious reasons; and 
  2. The order is for two years, particularly because the matches are not fixed in advance and boxing does not have an equivalent season to football. The order does require Matchroom to notify the defendants at least four weeks in advance of a match scheduled. 

This case is a clear example that the FAPL and UEFA orders can be applied to other sports and not simply in respect of football.

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