back to article UK to block Kodi pirates in real-time: Saturday kick-off

Last week in the High Court, Justice Arnold agreed to a request from the Football Association and the Premier League, and supported by the BBC, amongst others, that broke new ground, technically and legally. The order, which has the support of the major UK ISPs, is unusual in several ways. It permits the ISPs to block access …

Anonymous Coward

Defendants

What do you call it when the defendants in a case don't actually defend, because the ruling is in their self-interest?

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Re: Defendants

I don't know what you call the defendants but the case is usually called a test case

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Re: Defendants

"because the ruling is in their self-interest?"

How is something that encourages people to use ISPs other than the big 5 that don't have these blocks in their interest?!

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Re: Defendants

An excuse.

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Re: Defendants

I'm not sure there is anything to defend. I'd be very surprised if the providers of these "infringing streams" haven't already put measures in place to circumvent, either by design or as a workaround.

Ultimately I have a feeling that this mass rush to spend as much as possible on sporting rights will end up eating itself anyway as more and more people realise that they are just not worth the money.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Defendants

One football subscriber is worth several broadband subscribers.

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Re: Defendants

>What do you call it when the defendants in a case don't actually defend, because the ruling is in their self-interest?

A Cartel

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Re: Defendants

"How is something that encourages people to use ISPs other than the big 5 that don't have these blocks in their interest?!"

They are all also TV providers and sports packages are much more expensive than broadband.

Also in many areas there is no alternative

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Re: Defendants

>What do you call it when the defendants in a case don't actually defend, because the ruling is in their self-interest?

A fixed match.

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Re: Defendants

"cartel"

Correct. Real competition is a wonderful thing. BT vs Sky vs Virgin is not competition. They consume themselves, get fatter, and continue to consume each other. Ditto Power providers, rail franchises. If the competition isn't real, there's no point in having these endeavors in the free market at all. All of the above need real aggressive regulation. Which as of today, doesn't exist.

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Re: Defendants

Correct - The good ol' U.K.and U.S.A. They love the free market, they hate competition...

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Re: Defendants

"How is something that encourages people to use ISPs other than the big 5 that don't have these blocks in their interest"

I'd imagine the smaller ISPs might have a change in stance on this when they find non trivial % of their users all streaming the same content from a foreign server at the same time bringing the network to a grinding halt.

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Re: Defendants

"Correct - The good ol' U.K.and U.S.A. They love the free market, they hate competition"

We are not talking about competition though are we - If this was competition we would be talking about licencing rights for the games.

What is happening is someone, somewhere is re-broadcasting a subscription only service to people without a subscription. Thats not competition.

If you were in the business of developing software and relied third party components that you needed to licence (for a fee) and I came along with my software which does exactly the same thing but is cheaper because Im using a hooky copy of the third party components you'd be pissed off wouldnt you? regardless of how much money you were making I would be taking *some* of your sales.

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Re: Defendants

"I'd imagine the smaller ISPs might have a change in stance on this when they find non trivial % of their users all streaming the same content from a foreign server at the same time bringing the network to a grinding halt."

Like Netflix, Apple Play and Amazon Video you mean?

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Re: Defendants

@TheVogon

"Like Netflix, Apple Play and Amazon Video you mean?"

No not at all, bandwidth being sucked up by netflix etc will be fairly constant and predictable, what we are talking about here is streamed live football which has a massive following who will all want to watch it live.

So if (say) plusnet usually have 25% of their bandwidth being sucked up by streaming services and then suddenly find that Saturday afternoon for 90 minutes that % jumps into the high 90s do you not think that will have a knock on effect?

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Anonymous Coward

Horses for courses

"streamed live football which has a massive following who will all want to watch it live."

Sounds like the ideal motivation for ISPs and others (router vendors?) to finally get IP multicast working right then, surely, rather than letting it gather dust because "no one wants it"?

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Re: Horses for courses

"Sounds like the ideal motivation for ISPs and others (router vendors?) to finally get IP multicast working right then, surely, rather than letting it gather dust because "no one wants it"?"

Yeah I agree that would be a great solution. But then you're back to running a paid subscription service that people wont pay for while theres a free stream available too...

Unless you are suggesting multicasting the pirated/unlicenced streams that fixes nothing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Horses for courses

"running a *legitimate decent quality at a sensible price* paid subscription service that people wont pay for while theres a *carp quality marginally legal* free stream available too..."

Spot the difference?

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Re: Defendants

Most streams still worked just fine here last 2 Saturdays in a row....

I found that "Hotspot VPN" is a handy free way of unlocking anything else and works for Kodi on both Windows and Android. (The Windows Store version doesn't work - download it from their website).

The free version is limited to USA servers only, and pops up occasional ads on web browsing. Works just fine for video back to the EU though. A quick speed test showed 30Mb/S back to the UK - not bad for free...

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Re: Defendants

"do you not think that will have a knock on effect?"

Nope. Football will be negligible versus all the other streaming that's going on....

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Re: Defendants

Just found out Hotspot VPN free version also has limit of 250MB / day Android / 750MB Windows. Still, it's free...

Apparently an average football game stream needs about 450MB.

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Meh

If the only thing this prohibits is feetsball then (at least in my case) i can carry on regardless!

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Re: Meh

"If the only thing this prohibits is feetsball then (at least in my case) i can carry on regardless!"

As opposed to hand egg that they play in the colonies you mean? Good luck using say Twitch on a Saturday afternoon then as some streams use that now!

imo the streamers will just switch to CDNs and other mixed services if they don't already use them, which a) have hundreds of servers, and b) carry so much varied content that blocking them would have way too wide an impact...

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Re: Meh

"feetsball" - i like it

lump this and all the other sports in a barrel and shove it into the sea.

i could not possibly care any less about if any sport is on any form of television, provided i am neither obliged to watch it, nor pay for it. if Sky/Virgin/BT/et al want to gouge the people that want to watch it, that's their issue. I don't think the BBC should be squandering out license fee and trying to outbid any of them.

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Re: Meh

I prefer the term "Sniperdeathball" as that's what it looks like when they dive.

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Re: Meh

imo the streamers will just switch to CDNs and other mixed services if they don't already use them, which a) have hundreds of servers, and b) carry so much varied content that blocking them would have way too wide an impact...

Yes, that was my first thought. How soon before someone starts bouncing it through AWS or Azure (if they aren't already), and we see over-blocking of unrelated services. They say overblocking is a "low risk", but it's an arms race - they've been able to run exposed servers so far, now the ISPs are running short-term, transitory blocks they'll run and hide behind Cloudflare/Akamai/<CDN>.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Meh

Yep personally I don't care it they block feetsball either.

Now if they are smart instead of blocking from the start they will monitor the streams carefully then block them 5 minutes into the second half just to piss off the people enjoying the pirated content and make them want to cough up for a subscription next time.

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Anonymous Coward

I take 2 things from this.

1. That someone needs to distinguish between people running the software Kodi, pre-installed on a stick with plugins for accessing football matches.

2. The football season ends in May.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I take 2 things from this.

I think you misted an '.. and ...' in point 1. i.e. Who are you distinguish between?

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Re: I take 2 things from this.

2. The football season ends in May.

Unfortunately, the next season starts in June.

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Re: I take 2 things from this.

Unfortunately I think the *next* season starts in April :(

Countdown to proxy shift and VPN access in 5..4..3..2..

Not entirely sure that nearly two hours counts as 'a few minutes'

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Re: I take 2 things from this.

I learnt that the authorities are totally unaware that vpns and alternative dns servers circumvent all the above.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I take 2 things from this.

Not new, the goal is to try and stop most people from doing it forgetting that they're forcing the proles to learn. Lessons from history, when banning prostitution everywhere but in a swamp, the local folk set about draining the swamp and building a town there. People are far more industrious than the authorities give them credit for.

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Re: I take 2 things from this.

"I learnt that the authorities are totally unaware that vpns and alternative dns servers circumvent all the above."

I think the authorities are aware that Joe Public neither knows nor cares about "techy stuff" but can easily buy a "fully loaded Kodi device", plug it in and use it, as was reported in the article. If and when these devices are available cheaply, are plug'n'play and come pre-set with alternative DNS and/or VPN clients pre-configured, then something new may have to happen, but for now, Joe Public will likely be stymied for at least the start of the season. It all depends on if patches/fixes/workarounds are pushed to affected device from the iffy repos, assuming the sellers bothered to set things up properly in the first place.

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Re: I take 2 things from this.

"forgetting that they're forcing the proles to learn."

The proles didn't learn to find and stream questionable content or to by-pass blocking mechanisms. They learned how to buy a device that lets them click menu items that does it for them, in some cases without even realising they are doing something that may be illegal. It would actually be nice if they were learning about this sort of stuff because then they'd be more concious of security on t'internet and be more aware of the state sponsored data slurping, spying and monitoring that RIPA and Snoopers Charter 2.0 allows for people like GCHQ and your local traffic wardens.

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Re: I take 2 things from this.

" and come pre-set with alternative DNS and/or VPN clients pre-configured,"

Already do. Try the "Mega" Wookie community build for KODI for instance. Several default service providers that you just need to insert subscription details for...

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Big Brother

1984

This is a test for real-time censorship. I don't like where this is going.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 1984

"This is a test for real-time censorship. I don't like where this is going."

Well spotted.

We've had all the "think of the children" blacklist/whitelist stuff and it's not yet provided the desired capabilities.

So Mr Farr and friends in high places in the UK and elsewhere are moving on to the next stage.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 1984

A test that will fail

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 1984

The next stage will not work

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Will it work?

No.

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Thumb Down

I discern a few more things from this.

1. Football is definitely a business, not a sport.

2. ISPs should be banned from sponsorship.

3. More sport (so called) should be free to air and NOT paid for subscription.

4. The law can be bought.

Not that I care 1 tiniest of ioatas as I don't like football and don't use Kodi.

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Re: I discern a few more things from this.

I agree with you on point 3 but only in respect to international sport. Most football, loathe it or hate it, is a private business. The businesses have a perfect right to milk the shallow minded for their cash. Sport between nations should be free to air. Besides, keeping most of it on paid for services means I don't even have to suffer the unpleasant moment of seeing it when channel hopping.

Which brings me on to the other part that should be regulated, service providers should be required to offer major sports as clearly defined and separately billed packages. You cannot get Sky, even the most basic package with no sport channels, without some of your money going to the FA. If I want a package without cretinball I should be able to get a package that does not fund other peoples watching of cretinball. Back in the late 90's the basic no sport package used to be £8/month, then they did the first of their £billion deals with the FA and my bill went up to £30 for no more channels. And my contract got cancelled. There's some good original content on Sky1 now, I'd pay for that if I were only paying for that.

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Re: I discern a few more things from this.

Round the start of paid subscription TV in South Africa MNet sold sports packages - Soccer, Rugby, Cricket - that is you paid to watch a sport not a naff channel pumping feetsball (thanks !) or cretinball regardless of the fact that I ONLY want cricket and rugby (and sailing but who the hell shows that). MNet did rather well with that outrageous concept !

I refuse to pay for cretinactorball - it is over priced cheating and you'd have to go to Hollywood to see worse acting.

I want a box that allows me to pay for services from companies NETT of their sponsorship tax fiddles. Why the hell does my car insurance premium; or bank charges; or broadband costs provide money to crap I have no interest in ?

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Re: I discern a few more things from this.

"I refuse to pay for cretinactorball - it is over priced cheating and you'd have to go to Hollywood to see worse acting."

I'm reminded of Dr Johnson who, when complimented by some ladies on leaving naughty words out of his dictionary replied "So you looked for them".

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Re: if you only want sky1

Try a NowTV subscription. Sky1, and several other 'entertainment' channels, catch up and box sets, £10pm i believe

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Real cost of sports subscriptions

Re: @Gotno iShit Wantno iShit comments

Has anyone done an analysis of the cost of Sky/BY/Virgin subscriptions assuming that wendyball/a.n. other sport subscribers paid the full rights costs themselves and weren't subsidized by other pay TV subscribers and BT/Virgin line rental/call costs ?

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Trollface

Re: I discern a few more things from this.

"1. Football is definitely a business, not a sport."

Correct. And it makes far too much money. Proof? Those ridiculous transfer fees.

Answer? Tax it into oblivion. Should make it possible to fund social care AND abolish self employed NI to boot. Sorry, feets.

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Re: Real cost of sports subscriptions

I saw some numbers shared recently by an analyst for US based cable and sports- calculated as the sums paid to the sporting bodies divided by total cable subscribers. The payment per subscriber, that's regardless of whether they actually had that sport in their "package", was huge!

Here it is, https://twitter.com/asymco/status/839495399052308480

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Inevitable.

This decision was going to happen at some time, but it isn't foolproof by any means or suggestion, no matter how 'under wraps' they want to keep their methodology, it most likely will form around a mixture of packet matching, deep packet inspections and tcp/udp connections.

For those that have setup the systems themselves, the great game of cat and mouse begins. For those that bought a pre-packaged one, they will either adapt and learn enough to change source, or use an alternative 'service'.

Easiest circumvention though is to just get your service provided by an ISP that isn't listed, failing that set up a VPN tunnel to circumvent interference.

Where there is a will, there is a way. Of course by far the most appropriate methodology would be to charge a reasonable amount for subscription services, time and time again it has been demonstrated that when given an easy to use, appropriately priced, legal service, most people will switch to it rather than suffer the hassle.

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