Let’s Hope This Isn’t Napster Round 2

Posted: July 26, 2010 in UFC

An interesting press release went up late Friday.  You may have missed it, I sure did.  The UFC will be making a formal move on distributors of pirated PPV material.  This new media war on terror should be a long one. To be honest, I actually lean to neither side of this one.  As a business organization, the UFC has to put a stake in the ground and protect its property.  As a marketer, I know this type of activity can present some challenges in perception.

Rather than go on a soap box, I’m going to post the release below and ask that you tell me your thoughts.  Is this the right move for the business or is this a move that could hurt the movement for MMA adoption and acceptance?

UFC Serves Subpoenas on Streaming Sites

Las Vegas, NV (USA) –  Zuffa, LLC, (“Zuffa”), the parent company of the Ultimate Fighting Championship® (UFC®), announced today that it has served subpoenas on two streaming video websites, commanding them to reveal the identities of users who have uploaded video of live Pay-Per-View UFC events.

The websites, Justin.tv and Ustream.tv, enable anyone with an Internet connection to broadcast live streaming video to an unlimited audience.  Although originally developed to bring user-generated content to a large live audience, these sites have been exploited by some users to broadcast illegally uploaded content, including UFC events.

For example, on January 2, 2010, over 36,000 people watched a live streaming feed of the UFC 108 Pay-Per-View event that was uploaded from a single IP address.  Less than two months later, on February 21, 2010, that same IP address was used to upload multiple live streaming feeds of the UFC 110 Pay-Per-View event, which was watched by over 78,000 non-paying users.  This piracy represents a significant loss of revenue to UFC and their mobile, online, cable and satellite distribution partners each year.

“I can’t wait to go after the thieves that are stealing our content,” said UFC President Dana White.  “This is a fight we will not lose.”

Under §512(h) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a copyright owner can obtain a subpoena from a federal court ordering a service provider to disclose the identity of a subscriber who is allegedly engaging in infringing activities.  The subpoenas served by Zuffa require Justin.tv and Ustream.tv to disclose information in their possession that Zuffa can use to identify those who have been pirating and rebroadcasting recent UFC events online.  With this information in hand, Zuffa will prosecute civil actions against the individuals who have infringed Zuffa’s copyrights.

Zuffa is the largest provider of Pay-Per-View content in the world, and delivers exciting matches to fans in over 430 million households across 147 countries and territories.  Zuffa encourages the development of new technology to deliver UFC content to licensed online platforms, mobile devices, and gaming systems.  However, Zuffa does not condone the use of streaming video or other new technologies to violate intellectual property laws, and it will vigorously protect its copyrighted content against piracy in any medium.

Those who upload live UFC events as free streaming video harm UFC athletes, arena owners, and hard-working Zuffa employees who have transformed the once-obscure sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) into a successful professional sports organization.  The UFC brand has created American jobs in the entertainment, fitness, and clothing industries.  Zuffa will continue to fight on the cutting edge of copyright law to defend the intellectual property rights that support American economic growth.

  1. Ryan Korzeniowski says:

    I support the UFC on this one. The sad reality is that they will never be able to fully stymie the online piracy that occurs and will continue to but they undoubtedly lose a substantial amount of revenue when this happens. It isn’t just Dana White and Zuffa attempting to squeeze every penny out of the fans – this online THEFT trickles down and robs MMA fighters, their trainers and those working for the UFC. From a legal standpoint (this is just the lawyer in me), under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act they are going to run into some jurisdictional difficulty pursuing those who are stealing pay-per-views from overseas but they should absolutely pursue any and all legal recourse they have against those who are stealing UFC pay-per-views. How else will Quinton “Rampage” Jackson earn that “chedda” he loves so much?

  2. […] January 25, 2011 by mixedmarketingarts in Marketing, PR, Social Media, UFC 0 We looked at this not long ago, but now it is official.  The UFC’s parent company Zuffa, LLC is filing a lawsuit against […]

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