Several days after the UFC obtained user information from a website offering pirated pay-per-view events, the promotion plans to sue individuals who watched fights for free.
“We believe that we’ve got an obligation to go out there and try to protect the intellectual property and protect both our rights and the rights of our fighter-partners,” UFC chief legal counsel Lawrence Epstein told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) on Wednesday.
The impending legal action, which was reported earlier this week by “The Wrestling Observer,” represents a new tact in the UFC’s fight against piracy.
The promotion obtained user information this week from Greenfeedz.com, a website (which has since been shut down) that charged individuals to watch pirated PPV events spanning from UFC 130 to UFC 142. Epstein doesn’t know the exact number of people who had used the service. However, the number of customer records is “voluminous,” according to Julie Cohen Lonstein, a lawyer with an anti-piracy firm representing the UFC. She said the information is currently being sifted to “extract certain data and make determinations internally.”
“We just got these files, so I am prioritizing them, but I don’t have the answer (of how long it will take to deliver the lawsuits),” she later added. “It will be in the very near future.”
Lonstein, who previously targeted commercial infringers such as bars/restaurants, said the legal damages pursued by the UFC aren’t limited to the cost of a PPV event.
“It will be more than that,” she said. “There wouldn’t be any sense in asking people to pay what they should have paid because otherwise, there’s no future deterrent to piracy. So Zuffa has the right to request significantly more under the copyright violations and the [Digital Millennium Copyright Act].”
Enacted in 1998, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act was designed in part to protect producers of copyrighted works from online piracy.
Previously, the UFC has targeted the website operators, bars and streaming-video hosting sites that provide access to pirated content. Epstein said “millions” have been recovered from those who directly profited from such activity. Yet the problem hasn’t gone away.
“My personal view is that it’s probably increased,” Epstein said. “I think our tactics to take down streams and to combat them have increased, too. But overall, I don’t think there’s been a major decrease.”
Epstein said he hasn’t set guidelines for who gets sued and who doesn’t.
“Other than we need to have the requisite proof that they actually took it,” he said. “I think through this seizure, I think we’re going to be able to find lots of names, emails, telephone numbers and sometimes even addresses to identify those people that are watching illegally.”
Although specific figures aren’t public, estimates of the UFC’s PPV revenue reached as high as $400 million in 2010. Most UFC fans pay between $44.95 and $55.95 to order events through cable providers. The promotion splits PPV revenue with its bigger stars and frequently offers a certain dollar amount to the fighter per “buy” if an event exceeds a predetermined number of total buys.
Epstein likened this week’s move to a suit brought in 2001 by DirecTV against the makers of “smart cards” that allowed hackers to pirate the company’s cable signal. DirecTV also obtained records from companies accused of piracy and demanded from their customers a $4,500 payout to avoid litigation.
Despite the aggressive nature of the UFC’s new anti-piracy measures, Epstein said the promotion values its paying customers. The ones who don’t, however, are another story.
“We love our fans, and we’ve got some of the greatest fans in the world, and all the success we’ve had with the UFC is directly attributable to those fans,” he said. “But people that steal our stuff – they’re not our fans.
“If you’re a huge [Georges St-Pierre] fan, would you steal from him? I don’t think so. So we love our fans, we respect our fans, but people who steal from us, frankly, aren’t our fans.”
Source : https://mmajunkie.com/2012/03/ufcs-chief-counsel-people-that-steal-our-stuff-theyre-not-our-fansThanks you for read my article UFC\'s Chief Counsel: \'People That Steal Our Stuff ��� They\'re Not Our Fans\'