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Premier League and La Liga clinch anti-piracy victory with Mobdro takedown

Illegal mobile streaming app had been downloaded by more than 100m users.

12 March 2021 Ed Dixon

Getty Images

  • Mobdro offered illegal access to videos and TV channels featuring Premier League and La Liga action
  • Platform was regarded as the world’s largest pirate streaming app
  • Illegal profits for app had topped €5m

The Premier League and La Liga have secured their latest victory over piracy after the removal of the Mobdro mobile application, which was illegally streaming games from both top-flight soccer leagues.

The investigation into Mobdro, considered the world’s largest pirate streaming app, began in October 2018 when the Spanish National Police received complaint reports from the Premier League, La Liga, the Football Association Pretoria and the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment.

A number of connected websites and platforms were then identified in Spain and Portugal with connections to servers in the Czech Republic.

The Spanish company behind the illegal activity earned its profits through advertisements and were able to sell user information to a company related to botnet and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. Investigators estimate the overall illegal profits at more than €5 million (US$5.9 million).

The Mobdroapplication has also been download by more than 100 million users via different websites, allowing them illegal access to videos and TV channels.

Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, supported the Spanish National Police in the dismantling of the criminal group. This has resulted in three house searches, four court orders to take down domains, 20 web domains and servers blocked and four arrests. Bank accounts have also been frozen and a server has been taken down in Portugal, with another one under investigation in the Czech Republic.

For La Liga, in particular, it marks their latest successful operation against pirate broadcasters. Last June, it won an anti-piracy ruling in Moscow to remove its content from three Russian websites that had been illegally streaming Spanish top-flight soccer matches. The league has also secured successful rulings in Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Denmark, Senegal and Indonesia.

In the Premier League, a 2019 study by digital piracy authority MUSO in partnership with GumGum Sport revealed clubs in the English top flight were missing out on UK£1 million (US$1.39 million) in sponsorship every game because of piracy.

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