The Premier League’s seemingly limp approach to punishment now extends further than Luis Suarez, as copyright-breaching fans have now also been let off the hook. A spokesperson for the League recently confirmed that legal action will not be taken against individuals who have recorded snippets of top-flight football matches and then shared them via ‘Vine’, despite it being an overt breach of copyright regulation.
In an attempt to counteract the issue, the Premier League said: “The use of Vines and GIFs to show Premier League football is a breach of copyright, and we would encourage fans to use legitimate means to access this content, such as The Sun or The Times goal apps.”
Property rights companies such as NetResult are helping with the cleaning up process, methodically taking down pirated clips and banning illegal streaming sites. Action has also been taken by individual clubs in order to stem the flow of illegal footage; Manchester United recently decided to ban all iPads from their stadium in order to prevent filming on these devices.
This dilemma is not unprecedented in English football, however, as the Premier League also filed a six year lawsuit in 2007 against YouTube concerning similar footage – that ended in a stalemate in US courts. Better luck next time..?