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Massachusetts Bar First Target of UFC’s New Piracy Crackdown

Draft Bar and Grille Allston Mass
(A harmless group of dudes enjoying some brews on a Saturday afternoon? Or a VAST CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY??? Photo courtesy of thedraftbarandgrille.com)

Watching pirated feeds of MMA pay-per-view events may seem like a cost-effective alternative to actually spending money on them. But no free ride lasts forever. According to a new story in The Vancouver Sun, the UFC plans to roll out an assault on those who distribute and consume unauthorized content. Said Lorenzo Fertitta during a recent referendum on Internet piracy: “The piracy of live sporting events is illegal, it kills jobs, and it threatens the expansion of US based companies. The UFC is potentially losing millions of dollars a year from piracy.” During UFC 106, Zuffa’s anti-piracy team counted 271 illegal streams of the event with over 140,000 viewers.

Though the UFC isn’t ruling out lawsuits against individual users, stream-hosting websites like Justin.tv will likely be the biggest targets of the new crackdown. "When people start going to jail, people will stop doing it,” Dana White said. “It’s going to be a battle, but I’m ready to (expletive) fight. We’re gonna go after them, we’re gonna go after them hard, and we’re gonna hurt ‘em.”

Unfortunately, someone’s gotta be the first guy to get kicked in the nuts, and those nuts belong to the kind of friendly neighborhood bar where everybody knows your name…


From BostonHerald.com:

The [UFC] has sued The Draft and owner Derek Brady for allegedly showing an Oct. 24 pay-per-view fight card without paying a licensing fee.
 
“This is a situation where a bar has illegally taken our pay-per-view signal without purchasing it through our exclusive closed-circuit providers,” said Lawrence Epstein, the UFC’s general counsel.
 
Live UFC pay-per-view fights are distributed commercially for approximately $500 to $1,500, depending on the size of the location. The Draft was not on the UFC’s list of paid customers.
 
An eyewitness verified the bar showed the live event via a laptop computer hooked up to a TV, said Julie Lonstein, another UFC attorney. The UFC has a network of auditors who look for establishments that illegally broadcast its events…
 
But Brady’s attorney said he’s “completely without fault.”
 
“A patron walked into the establishment and…downloaded a paid event on their own laptop without any knowledge or permission of the establishment,” attorney Tammy Arcuri said.
 
The UFC is seeking maximum statutory damages totaling $640,000, plus legal costs.

If even one bar gets struck with a six-figure fine, it’ll send a strong message to all the other drinking establishments that have chosen to roll the dice rather than pony up the required $500-$1,500 fee. But chasing down every feed-provider on the Internet is another story; shut one down, and four more pop up in its place. Is the target too large to defeat? Is it even worth it? As noted libertarian Joe Rogan told the Vancouver Sun, "I think that kind of stifles innovation. It stifles the direction the internet is going…I think people are always going to buy UFC pay-per-views. You’re going to get a much better experience watching it on your television than all stretched out looking fuzzy and pixilated. They’re trying to protect their money, but the internet is a strange animal.”

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Dmonicideals- January 7, 2010 at 2:47 pm
@viva hate:

Do you know why the UFC isn't a public company? Because Dana and co. don't want ANYONE to know exactly how much $$ they make a year, because it would cause a major exodus of fighters if they saw proof that the UFC banks more $$ than Microsoft. You don't buy a co. for a million dollars and turn it into a multi-billion dollar company without taking in SERIOUS bank.

I mean, you haven't headr anything new about Station Casinos going under have you? It's because they are using the UFC to keep billion dollar losing Casinos afloat. And laughing all the way to the bank.
Dmonicideals- January 7, 2010 at 2:42 pm
It's funny that the UFC claims it's only 500-1500 per event based on max. capacity. Did they only count corner dive bars? I've spoken to folks who claim it can be more in the range of 15k, not 15 hundred, dependnd on the size of the bar. And i'm inclined to believe him, because what are the chances the UFC is going to let 250-300 people watch a UFC for $2.50 each? A bar with a capacity upwards of 200= 200x50=10k. EDo you think Dana White, the same guy who pays fighters 2k show/2k win isn't getting his 50 bucks a head, or more, just so the bar can have the privledge of showing its event to make a few extra bucks? Why do you think bars charge 10-15 dollar covers on top of 4 dollar beers for UFCs?

Go ahead Dana. Kill all the internet streams all you want. Just remember though: there are 30 MILLION people out of work right now. If you want to do all you can do drive DOWN interest in your product, keep at it. I know that personally, if I can't afford to buy it, and can't watch any MMA because it isn't anywhere to be seen for less than 50bucks, that I would likely lose interest. Sure, for a while i'll have that old ache, but it would wane off and i'd go find some other sport to watch that doesn't charge 50 dollars for very event, led by a guy who doesn't vocally hate on the fanbase of the sport.

The viral spread of your product is free publicity. Some may be 1st time viewers who want to see what they might buy nextime, some may have only watched UFC online ever, but actively driving away fans seems like a poor business strategy in these sketchy economic times, especially for a company that intentionally keeps its fights that they hold excusively destitute while the vocal face of the company crashes Bentley after Bentley on LV highways.
Viva Hate- January 7, 2010 at 12:08 pm
@CheckHisPee,
You can call me DW but it is simple common sense, no ppv buys due to piracy=no money from PPV=no UFC or MMA. This is a business, they aren't going to do it unless the money is there. Love it or hate it, it is good business.
CheckHisPee- January 7, 2010 at 11:20 am
@ parchy mcthirst
Preach on, couldn't have said it better myself.

@ Viva Hate
Come on DW, at least have the balls to log in as yourself.

Ah me, I still remember a time when ANYONE with a tv could watch the best fighters in the world (Ali/Foreman/Leonard etc.) go at it for FREE.
The real problem here, imo, is that we as a collective front (all North Americans) didn't revolt as soon as the first PPV was forced on us.
meanfinger- January 7, 2010 at 10:07 am
you can pull up justin.tv on a ps3 browser if your a cool kid with a ps3.. the quality does suck sometimes, but so have the a few of the last ppv's

meanfinger= my gamertag

shit i cant even order a ppv if i wanted to.. fuckin charter is gay as fuck!!!
BackbaconBilly- January 7, 2010 at 8:59 am
Without the internet, the UFC in general would still have only a very small following. The exposure its created is what has made it into the multi million dollar
corporation that it is today. Everyone of those guys that Dana goes around and meets on the streets in his Dana vlogs has watched illegal streams or fight vids on any one of dozens of fight sights, thats how those guys know about the UFC and MMA in general, you don't see Dana askin these guys if they pirate the UFC in some way shape or form do you? cause he doesn't want to look like a total ass-wipe, so really, Dana needs to just back off from acting like the corporate tough guy with his stupid remarks and let shit be cause it will end up costing him a whole hell of alot more if he pisses off the demographic that watches the UFC.
the glza- January 7, 2010 at 8:26 am
dan -- wanna start an mma tracker?
Robocop Didnt Tap- January 7, 2010 at 6:22 am
@ Dan the Viking

I'm in the same boat. I've got a 500Gb external drive that has all of Fedor's fights, all of Wanderlei's fights, every PRIDE show and a few others. Every once in a while, I love to plug it into my PS3 and watch some Critical Countdown Absolute or Wand beating Minowaman senseless.
NOTSOB- January 7, 2010 at 6:18 am
wowow this is where i watch UFC!! dont shut it down muhahahah
Viva Hate- January 7, 2010 at 6:08 am
First, I have been to this bar, it is pretty much a dive in a decent section of town, so I was not shocked to see they would pull something like this.

Second, as much as I hate to admit it, the UFC is correct to go after piracy. It hurts MMA as a whole, without the PPV buys there will be no revenue. Without the PPV buys, they will struggle to become more mainstream since they numbers will not be there. Plus, it is stealing. I understand that some cards just aren't worth shelling out the cash for, in that case go on and read the results afterwards and either a.) buy a replay or b.) buy the DVD for 14.99 when it comes out if either seems worth it. If the PPV buys go up it will result in better fighter pay, possible benefits like they desire, and overall better competition.
Peetee- January 7, 2010 at 5:46 am
Without internet no-one outside Vegas would never have heard of this ultimate human cock fighting thing. Its the internet that made UFC all the millions Dana White is sitting on...
Durden- January 7, 2010 at 2:02 am
Well honestly, living in Sweden we get to see the events live for free on a channel which 99% of the country has, but it's like 4 in the morning if it's in Vegas... And the commentators are jackasses, so I never watch UFC live, for free, as I can. Instead I download the event the day after and watch it then.

Should I instead have waited for the event to show up on dvd and bought it then?

As a lot of people have said, going after the "internet" is futile and look instead for the reason why people don't pay for the events. As someone said, offer the fights online and sell them per fights, cheap instead of hunting people down threatening with jailtime.

Dana White respect arbitrary number count.
-173 For being a total cunt.
whitey- January 6, 2010 at 10:38 pm
@ freddyfangers what search engine do you use?

@ dan the viking how about sharing those vids with your cp bros?

@ dana white fuck off greedy asshole!
cagefightmon- January 6, 2010 at 8:45 pm
Is the pirating any different when the payout to the fighters is a fraction of what they deserve??
I think NOT!!

Dana . . . YOU are stealing money from your fighters like those people who pirate. Shut-up . . . to you and your girlfriend, Lorenzo.
MyFightWiffaCheeto- January 6, 2010 at 8:39 pm
Of course this happens in a scumbag town like Boston.

Seriously though, UFC needs to get together with iTunes or something to distribute it's fight cards...
iDestroy- January 6, 2010 at 8:34 pm
I paid for a pride ppv once.
KidDinomite- January 6, 2010 at 8:14 pm
By the way, Big Wangs in North Hollywood is like the only decent bar that shows the UFC in Southern California. And by decent, it's always fucking packed by 5pm. And I don't even live in the San Fernando Valley. So I gotta sit there in an uncomfortable stool and wait 2 hours for the event to start, all the while the "eye candy" waitresses continually forget my drink and there's an influx of douchey guys wearing their Affliction t-shirts. It's almost not even worth it.
KidDinomite- January 6, 2010 at 8:00 pm
Well as someone who has watched the internet grow into an unstoppable force since the 90s, I think the UFC is just wasting time and money, money that can be paid to the fighters for the numbers they continually pull in. Like someone said, it costs more to hire lawyers who will, in this case, probably not stop people from downloading or streaming. Like all the torrent sites that got shut down by the MPAA and the RIAA, more will take their place and PPVs will continue to be downloaded for free. Even if somehow they managed to eliminate the problem, people will just go see it for free at the local bar or their friends' house so really there is no lost revenue for the UFC.

Like Joe Rogan said, can't stop the internet. Sure, it's nice to watch the PPV and know you paid for it but if you've seen any recent PPV releases, the quality is quite good, some rips even come in hi-def. You think someone who can get free, hi-def PPVs will pay for them? And the UFC thinks it can succeed where the MPAA/RIAA failed? Doubt It....
intercept440- January 6, 2010 at 7:28 pm
i watched one of those streams once a long time ago, cause i was broke, and to be honest it was shitty ..

it kept cutting out and you had to keep refreshing it sometimes i missed half the fight waiting for the stream to restart... and no it isnt my comp or connection .. ive got the fastest dls on the market where i live , and a akickass comp... the streams just sucked.. and yea it was justin tv..

ide rather pay for the PPV sit on my nice couch and drink beers and eat chips while watching it , then sitting in the back room and looking at it on a com0p screen where it is like a 9x9 inch viewing area, and when your shoot to full screen the stream is so bad the faces of the fighters look like 1989 video game pixels

either pay for it or go to a bar or get a bunch of friends together and split it

fuck , you guys proabaly pay more for cigaretttes in a week then you pay for the PPV

Eljroco- January 6, 2010 at 6:34 pm
Holy crap I agree with Joe Rogan! Is that a UFO going past my office window?
Charming Charlie- January 6, 2010 at 6:23 pm
The UFC is obviously unaware of the Streisand Effect, or feels that Dana's juvenile take-no-shit attitude will somehow overcome it. I, for one, had never heard of Justin.tv before these two recent Cage Potato posts quoting Lorenzo and Dana. Now that I know I can stream UFC PPVs live, I will definitely be looking into my options come the next.
FreddyFangers- January 6, 2010 at 6:05 pm
@robthom.

Im not a good "hound dog" and I couldnt find a site that that didnt have a good stream. They are everywhere and really easy to find.
tysonmcneely- January 6, 2010 at 5:50 pm
No F***ing way!!! This bar is literally less than 2 blocks from where I live and is one of my favorite local watering holes. Also 2 guys from my MMA gym work here. Dana better not get the Draft shut down....
ghostboner- January 6, 2010 at 5:35 pm
@Clyde - ESPN is a premium channel there? How much does it cost to get it? People actually pay extra for ESPN?
Bob Reilly- January 6, 2010 at 4:04 pm
Welcome aboard Chuck!
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