This is bad news if you stream Premier League football or TV broadcasts online

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The days of you being able to stream Premier League football or other pirated sports and television broadcasts online could be about to come to an end.

Illegal streams of TV television broadcasts and paid for sporting events such as Premier League and UEFA Champions League football, NFL and AFL are becoming increasingly popular.

Many streams are often available to users with their own interface and software as part of a monthly or yearly package via an IPTV set top box or as a plugin for a video streaming device.

Other streams are available on standalone web pages that prove very difficult for content providers to pull down – as one stream is taken offline another pops up in its place almost immediately.

However a new technology developed by tech firm Cisco could give content providers the upper hand in the war against online piracy.

Cisco says its new Streaming Piracy Prevention service is capable of shutting down illegal streams as soon as they appear.

The Streaming Piracy Prevention service works by reading a forensic digital watermark that is used to identify legitimate paid for video streams or broadcasts and then takes the illegal stream offline in real time.

This is a major shift in tactics in the fight against illegal streaming.

stream Premier League

An example of a high definition online stream

Previously, broadcasters could do little more than issue written warnings or take down requests to any website or organisation that streams the illegal content.

According to Cisco’s Amit Wohl: “Online video piracy is growing and becoming one of the most significant threats facing Pay TV service providers.

“With a prior focus on low-resolution streaming through web sites that were notoriously riddled with inappropriate advertising and malware, streaming piracy has transformed to match consumer demand for high definition multiscreen delivery.

“In the past pirate streaming sites have targeted the highest profile sports events; now pirate services are delivering whole channel packages into smart devices (mobile, tablet, smart TVs), IPTV set-top boxes, and plug-ins for video streamers and other such devices.”

Explaining how the Streaming Piracy Prevention service works, Amit said: “Using a forensic watermark it identifies the subscriptions/sessions used to source the content, and shuts down the source through the video security system – all in real-time. The process is fully automated, ensuring a timely response to incidents of piracy. Gone are the days of sending a legal notice and waiting to see if anyone will answer.”

Whether or not Cisco’s Streaming Piracy Prevention service will be successful in cracking down on illegal TV and sports streaming remains to be seen. However, if the claims prove to be true, then it will surely be much more effective for content providers than having to rely on mere takedown requests.

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