It’s going to be a lot tougher to access illegal streams of Sky games and programming through an IPTV, thanks to a court order empowering the UK broadcaster to take the offensive against pirates. 

Last month, the UK High Court granted Sky an order that will allow the company to stop piracy in real-time. The order blocks illegal streams of Sky’s sports content and select television series on leading IPTV platforms, preventing thousands of internet pirates from accessing content without streaming rights.

Although the order is not public yet, the Financial Times reports it will require online platforms to ban all access to illegal streams covering several linear channels. Channels featuring live coverage of games, such as Sky Sports and Sky Atlantic, will no longer be available to those seeking to sneak around paying for such content.

The court’s order grants Sky permission to shut down individual illegal IPTV apps at specific times. Say a high-profile game is live via a broadcast channel at 6:00 p.m. Sky will be able to shut down pirate sites during the game’s duration. The company will enlist a third party to hunt down and block pirating operations’ IP addresses and servers.

The order puts a damper on the rise of streaming boxes running on an IPTV platform able to pick up streams of content from other parts of the world, getting around the need to pay for the content. While a UK citizen would have to subscribe to a Sky channel for a particular game or show, the box could bring the international feed to that person for free. 

Sky isn’t alone in pursuing a more aggressive stance. Last season, the UK’s Premier League also received a blocking order from the High Court, which allowed them to remove more than 600,000 illegal live streams, according to the Financial Times. While the Premiere League’s order, first granted in 2019, covers the 2023/2024 and 2024/2025 seasons, Sky’s order has a more limited timeframe for now, according to Torrent Freak. Its blocking order runs from August through November.

Beyond protecting its sports content, the broadcaster is also authorized to extend the ban to shut down pirated streams of television series. 

Companies working with law enforcement agencies have long tried to shut down illegal streams at the source, but they continue popping up under new names. 

“We’re pleased that the High Court has granted this order, which will help limit the supply of stolen Sky content,” a spokesperson for Sky said. “Blocking has been shown to be an extremely effective tool in tackling content piracy and is just one of a range of measures we take to protect our content and our business.” 

Each illegal streaming source can host tens of thousands of subscribers, stealing content and revenue generated by ads running during live streams. Networks heavily consider advertising revenue while making decisions about a series’ lifespan. 

Sky’s order shows a defensive maneuver against pirates by cutting off their means to acquire and stream content altogether through blocking. This block includes streams from IPTV platforms such as BunnyStream, Enigma Streams, GenIPTV, CatIPTV, GoTVMix, and IPTVMain.