Facebook big-fight pirate faces Foxtel action

A Brisbane man faces legal action from Australian pay-TV operator Foxtel after streaming the Danny Green v Anthony Mundine fight live on Facebook. Darren Sharpe attracted more than 150,000 viewers to his Facebook live stream who thereby avoided the A$59.95 (€42.67) pay-per-view charge.

Foxtel identified his and other live Facebook streams, as well as pirate versions shared on YouTube and Periscope which enabled boxing fans to watch for free and cut them off.

Foxtel CEO Peter Tonagh said the operator would take “appropriate legal action” against alleged infringers. “Foxtel spends over $900 million each year on the production of local content including live sports. This investment is only possible when the rights to that content can be protected. Without copyright protection, many of these events and productions would not exist and the thousands of people employed in their creation would not have jobs,” he asserted, adding that the incident was not “just theft. It is a threat to the future viability of live events such as boxing and to the sustainability of the content industry generally.”

“The instigators of the illegal streams on Facebook were aware that what they were doing is illegal, they were reminded of this by Foxtel staff and one has gone so far as to create a fundraising page in anticipation of his legal costs. As you would expect, Foxtel will be taking appropriate action,” he confirmed.

“We note and acknowledge some media commentary around the need for Foxtel to increase accessibility to these events over our IP streaming services and intend to address this in the future,” he concluded.

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