Two and a half years after I watched my first illegal p2p stream of a Premier League football match, lawyers for the grotesquely bloated English Premier League are upping their lobbying of the UK Government.
I remember when you had to guess your way through Chinese characters to find the stream you wanted, but in the last year or so, the quality of illegal streams has really picked up. Sites such as www.myp2p.eu collate streams of every sporting event you could dream of, allowing those of us who can’t afford/don’t want to afford to line the pockets of Sky Sports and Setanta to engage in that ancient ritual of watching 22 men kick a plastic ball around a field. As with plans to tackle the illegal downloading of music, the UK government seems to think it can stop the issue of illegal sports streams by leaning on ISPs. Maybe they’re right – but I imagine that’s some way off. Besides, seeing as it’s taken so long for action this time, someone more technical than me will find a way around this, meaning we can continue to watch the game without paying, happy in the knowledge that the innovators of this world are not the defenders of immorally -if not financially -bankrupt regimes.
Is this stealing? Under the current system, yes, clearly. But as with Hollywood and the music industry, perhaps a new method of paying needs to be found. The amount of money spent on advertising can surely pay a good chunk – why not up it? What about embnedded advertising on screen for example? Online media has changed the game – your model is not working anymore.
Besides, it’s party because the public are exploited by pay TV that footballers get paid 100k a week. Does the public want that? Largely, no. So maybe when the Premier League, worried it won’t be able to flog its wares for quite as much if the companies forking out for it know it’s not quite as valuable anymore, come knocking at Culture Secretary Andy Burnham’s door – he can answer that as an MP, he’s got far more important things to worry about than defending the interests of the Premier League millionaires.