Famous sports streaming site Rojadirecta has lost its appeal against a Danish site-blocking injunction. The court upheld a lower court’s decision in favor of Spanish football league ‘La Liga’ and anti-piracy group Rights Alliance. The injunction requires local ISP Telenor to prevent users from accessing the stream-linking site.
Rojadirecta is one of the oldest and most popular linking sites for sports streaming events.
The site, operated by the company Puerto 80 Projects, has been around for over a decade amassing a sizable audience. At the same time, however, it hasn’t been able to avoid legal trouble.
Copyright holders have repeatedly accused Rojadirecta of facilitating piracy by linking to unauthorized broadcasts. This has landed the site in court on more than one occasion. While most sites don’t put up a fight, Rojadirecta does.
This fighting spirit has paid off in the past. Among other victories, Rojadirecta managed to get its domain name back from the US Government after it was seized by the Department of Justice. In recent years, however, there have been setbacks too.
Last year, Danish anti-piracy group Rights Alliance, together with Spanish football league ‘La Liga,‘ obtained a site-blocking injunction against Rojadirecta. While the site wasn’t sued directly, it did intervene in the case, which initially failed. The court ordered ISP Telenor to block access to the sports streaming site.
Rojadirecta didn’t give up though and appealed the decision. Among other things, the company pointed out that the site contains links to legally available streams. It also showed that users must tick a box to indicate that submitted streams are not infringing any copyrights.
Despite this defense, the Court of Appeal upheld the lower court’s ruling. According to the appeal decision, it is likely that Rojadirecta violates the rights of the Spanish football league. As such, an injunction requiring Telenor to block the site is warranted.
Blocking Permissible Under EU Law
In its order, the Court cites jurisprudence from the European Court of Justice, including the Filmspeler case, which found that links to pirated content are seen as a ‘communication to the public.’
La Liga is pleased with the outcome. Melcior Soler, the league’s Audiovisual Director, says that the organization will continue to crack down on piracy around the world.
“This achievement encourages us to continue and reaffirms our position that piracy is a scourge not only for LaLiga but for all of football. LaLiga will keep investing in technology to fight piracy and defending the audiovisual rights of LaLiga and its clubs,” Soler says.
Other ISPs Will Follow The Blocking Order
In Denmark, ISPs have signed a voluntary agreement to follow blocking injunctions against competing ISPs. This means that, in addition to Telenor, other large providers will block Rojadirecta as well.
The Danish Rights Alliance sees the appeal decision as an important victory. According to director Maria Fredenslund, it enables rightsholders of live sports and TV content to request blocking injunctions as well.
“Practically, this means that there is now access to block services that offer illegal tv and live sports. This is a hugely important development, especially for broadcasters who at great expense pay for exclusive rights to sports content,” she says.
Fredenslund tells TorrentFreak that blockades against other websites offering live content are being considered, but there are no concrete plans yet.
Rojadirecta is disappointed with the outcome. However, it’s not a major setback for the site. The site’s Danish audience is relatively small and the site will continue to operate in countries where it remains freely accessible.
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