Foxtel KOs big fight Facebook pirates

Australian pay-TV operator Foxtel has acted quickly to shut down Facebook users who attempted to broadcast pirated versions of the world-title welterweight boxing bout between Australia’s Jeff Horn and Filipino title-holder Manny Pacquiao.

Foxtel’s Main Event channel held the broadcasting rights to the fight, charging customers A$59.95 to watch it, but shortly after the final bell, a number of streams appeared on Facebook, broadcasting it for free.

Foxtel says it was pleased that there were very few instances of people trying to stream the fight illegally and that all of these were quickly shut down by the operator or with assistance from Facebook.

“We will examine these cases and consider any further action, but no decision has been taken about that at this time. We are confident that Australians are becoming increasingly aware that illegal streaming of these events only hurts fans in the long term,” a Foxtel spokesman told news.com.au.

In February 2017, a Brisbane man faced legal action from 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.

Ultimately Foxtel backed down from taking legal action against Sharpe, deciding to “educate” him and other pirates on “the significant harm such actions bring to the production of local Australian content, including live sports”.

“We have given the individuals the opportunity to formally apologise via a public social media post, acknowledging the gravity of the situation, in the hopes that more people will learn that copyright theft is not a victimless crime and something that should be taken very seriously,” said Foxtel CEO Peter Tonagh.

 

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