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Serie-A strike deal with Google: how big-tech platforms are helping tackle online sports piracy

Serie-A strike deal with Google: how big-tech platforms are helping tackle online sports piracy
Wednesday, 07 July 2021 By Mark Kramer, Mark Nichols

As Europe’s major football leagues expand into new global markets, they are simultaneously fighting an ongoing battle against illegal streaming and broadcasting.  Take the Premier League, which together with other sports governing bodies has had numerous court appearances and judgments on this issue since the early 2010s[1]. Yet despite moving quickly, the law has never quite been able to keep pace in finding a practical solution to tackling online piracy.

In May 2021, to try to find a better way to deal with these issues, Italy’s top flight football league, Serie A, entered into an agreement with Google.[2]  Pursuant to the agreement, Google will take down from its Play Store any applications (apps) that allow the illegal streaming of live matches.  It will also assist with the detection and prevention of infringement on an ongoing basis. 

This article examines the context for the Google agreement, and explains why the new rules under the EU’s Copyright Directive are placing more responsibility on large tech platforms to help police the content they host.  Specifically, it looks at:

  • Google’s transition from disruptor to enforcer
  • The commercial and legal reasons driving the trend (EU Copyright Directive)
  • Problems that remain
  • A solution? Affordable, direct subscription services
  • The new relationship between tech platforms and rightsholders

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Written by

Mark Kramer

Mark Kramer

Mark Kramer heads up the London litigation & licensing team at leading European intellectual property firm, Potter Clarkson.

As an experienced IP lawyer advising on both contentious and non-contentious issues across the full gamut of IP rights, Mark’s clients range from multi-nationals to start-ups and individuals, but all appreciate his clear, commercially focussed advice. 
His experience spans several sectors including sport, pharma, FMGC, travel, retail and the creative industries. He has represented clients before the IPEC, the High Court and the Court of Appeal. However, much of Mark’s work has an international focus and he has strong experience of ‘quarterbacking’ international disputes.
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Mark Nichols

Mark Nichols

Mark is a Senior Associate at Potter Clarkson. He is an experienced intellectual property solicitor, with expertise across the full range of intellectual property rights.

He has acted for clients in complex trade mark, copyright, patent, design, passing off and breach of confidence disputes, at all stages from pre-action to trial, with experience in settling large, multi-party disputes on terms favourable to his clients.

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