Bit of a Pyrrhic victory for Duco, since the cost of the Pay per view was a bit under sixty bucks.
Sky TV and Duco Events have had a victory in their battle against illegal streamers ahead of Joseph Parker’s WBO heavyweight title fight.
And after having won the test cases at district court level on Wednesday, they have warned they will up the ante for piracy when Parker takes on Mexican Andy Ruiz in Auckland on Saturday night, a fight that will be broadcast on Sky’s Arena pay-per-view channel at a cost of $59.95.
Pirating of Parker’s fights using Facebook’s live video function has become a major issue for the broadcaster and promoter since the star fighter’s win over Carlos Takam in Auckland in May.
Sky and Duco took civil proceedings against pirates who unlawfully streamed Parker’s subsequent knockout win against Solomon Haumono in Christchurch in July.
The companies confirmed that they had obtained judgment against seven individuals, with the judge satisfied that each defendant had infringed Sky’s copyright.
The judge granted an injunction restraining any further infringement of the copyright work and ordered each defendant to delete and/or destroy any copies held, including from Facebook.
They were also ordered to pay nominal damages of $100 as well as costs of $2,670.
The court costs, 26.7 times higher than the fine, will be the more prohibitive part.
Sky and Duco will have a 12-person team searching the web for piracy on Saturday. Importantly, they now also have Facebook’s co-operation.
Duco’s CEO Martin Snedden was delighted with the legal victory, especially the timing with TV revenue so crucial to recouping the $4m costs of staging the title fight.
“From Duco’s point of view the big thing is the court is saying yes, illegal streaming is a break of our legal rights and those that do that can expect to be dealt with if we bring them to court. It’s great,” Snedden said.
“In this first batch of judgements we set out to create the precedent not to take a punitive approach to people. We got an award of nominal damages plus court costs.
“We can (push for more) if we choose too. These were really test cases and what we are trying to do is send a message to people that we are serious about this.
“People are really on notice now. From a legal point of view there is no defence of ‘oh we didn’t know’ or ‘it’s accidental’.”
In my mind, re-broadcasting the fight via Facebook was always a dodgy prospect. But at $100 the court has basically said to Duce to stop being idiots and live with the fact this stuff is going to happen.
What they will find harder to prevent is people tuning in to the dozens of sports streaming services that are rebroadcasting a Free to Air or subscription service sports program to the Internet. These are invariably outside of Sky TV and Duco’s legal reach, and due to the one-off and relatively brief nature of the event, impossible to stop.
The Sky TV and Duco people will have copies tapes, CDs and/or downloaded music or a movie at some time in their lives. Some “shrinkage” is to be expected and priced into the product. Taking people to court to hand them a $100 fine is in the end counter productive in the sense it will have cost more to make the point than it did in lost revenue.