(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…
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.”