UFC Serves Subpoenas to Streaming Websites

July 23, 2010

In a press release today, the UFC announced it has served two subpoenas to popular streaming websites Justin.tv and Ustream.tv seeking the information of individuals responsible for illegally distributing Zuffa content on the internet.

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.

Payout Perspective:

This news comes just a few weeks after Zuffa revealed it has privately settled with over 500 individuals and groups that were illegally distributing Zuffa content.

It will definitely be interesting to see what comes of this. The internet is such a vast place that most people assume they cannot be touched. Zuffa isn’t likely to gain much from a monetary standpoint, especially compared to what it spends in legal fees, but perhaps it can at least stem some of the supply of the illegal streaming or deter use on the demand side.

8 Responses to “UFC Serves Subpoenas to Streaming Websites”

  1. Machiel Van on July 23rd, 2010 2:27 PM

    I agree Kelsey, good article. While Zuffa is more than likely going to spend more money than they will receive from this type of litigation, it seems their strategy is to publicly show that they WILL go after people and businesses engaging in illegal broadcasts of UFC events, and in this case, that people can and in reality do get caught and suffer the consequences. While it is true that they can’t possibly curb all attempts at piracy, at least this will dissolve the illusion that these people have that they are, as you said, “untouchable.” Now that several hundred parties have been caught and disciplined, it shows people who engage in this sort of piracy that there is a real and tangible consequence to their actions. It makes it much more of a gamble to illegally broadcast UFC events, because while the majority of people may still get away with it, there’s pretty much a 50/50 chance that a certain individual may be the one caught.

  2. Machiel Van on July 23rd, 2010 2:37 PM

    It’s not just the threat of force, but the actual use of it, which in turn Zuffa most likely hopes will cause the prevention of piracy by way of fear.

  3. Machiel Van on July 23rd, 2010 2:42 PM

    It seems like a smart move, though it will be difficult to truly determine its effectiveness. I’ve always wondered what the benefit is to some of these pirates, such as those who illegally use Justin.tv. What are they getting out of illegally broadcasting UFC events? Surely there must be something to gain other than merely sticking it to Zuffa, otherwise why risk it? Same goes for people who share copyright material via p2p networks, why risk legal penalties if there is no return? This is probably is too broad of a topic to be appropriate for this site, but I’m curious so I’ll put it out there.

  4. brockmann on July 23rd, 2010 4:10 PM

    stupidest move ever killing potential customers in the bud. Out of sight out of mind people will forget about you and you will have to win them back alter

  5. Tweets that mention UFC Serves Subpoenas to Streaming Websites : MMAPayout.com: The Business of MMA -- Topsy.com on July 23rd, 2010 8:02 PM

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by MMA Payout and Mark Bown, mma.ly. mma.ly said: UFC Serves Subpoenas to Streaming Websites http://bit.ly/9rqwzi (MMA Payout) #fb […]

  6. Brain Smasher on July 23rd, 2010 9:25 PM

    Good move by the UFC. I dont think the UFC will kill off pirating of their property. But a few years ago it was much harder to find streams and places to download fights than it is now. I think the UFC want to not make it go away completely(although they would if they could) but to make it so that only the most determained individuals can find streams or downloads. It is currently just to easy to steal right now. my self buy most of the events. There are a few that i stream when i have to work. But that is rare. But at this point i KNOW i can find a link for a stream, i KNOW if it goes down where to find many more. Its like that for to many people. As long as its this easy lots of people will choose to save $50. If the UFC can cut down on these sites and make it harder to find and a pain in the ass to steal then people will only stream as a last resort. If you didnt know for sure if you can find a stream or a back up if it went down or the quality was good then you would just buy the event and not risk not seeing it if you cant find a stream. You’re all but garenteed to get these things currently. Zuffa is just trying to force it back underground where it belongs.

  7. Bill on July 26th, 2010 10:06 AM

    The guys that uploaded the streams to Justin tv better have used a proxy when doing so. If not, they must be going through some sleepless nights after reading that Dana White is coming for them.. haha

  8. ff on July 26th, 2010 9:10 PM

    so whats new….everything that dana says is right to everyone here lol….Dana is boring already…all the i want all the attention in the world is becoming too much…took some psychology courses and the i want to be the center of attention is personality disorder…

Got something to say?

You must be logged in to post a comment.