A mechanic from Brisbane is facing legal action because he streamed the Anthony Mundine/Danny Green fight on his Facebook page over the weekend. He posted it to his public Facebook page for all to see – for free.
Darren Sharpe’s actions obviously caught the ire of Foxtel, who were charging a whopping $59.95 for people to legitimately view the fight.
It begs the question: were his actions a blatant abuse of Foxtel’s right to protect its intellectual property?
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Or was he being a stand up Aussie for trying to bring the fight to the masses, especially those who couldn’t afford the huge fee to watch it?
Darren’s stream was watched by up to 300,000 people, so it had a fairly massive reach. From Foxtel’s perspective, it’s hard to know how many of those looky-loos would have actually paid to watch the fight, or how many were simply watching it because it was free.
And this is the problem that Foxtel CEO Peter Tonagh had with it. He told news.com.au that Foxtel spends over $900 million each year producing local content like live sports, and this investment “is only possible when the rights to that content can be protected”.
“The incident with Facebook… [was] not just theft. It is a threat to the future viability of live events such as boxing and to the sustainability of the content industry generally,” he said.
Darren is not the only one in hot water for sharing the fight online – it seems that a number of Aussies are in the same boat. But were Darren and his fellow streamers in the wrong for sharing the fight feed for free?
Personally, I think they were. They were told repeatedly to take down their streams after Foxtel tracked usage and saw that users were sharing the stream illegally, and they didn’t oblige.
Also, there were plenty of other opportunities to watch the fight without handing over the big bucks, as pubs and bars across the country were broadcasting it live as well.
Foxtel says the instigators of the “illegal streams” on Facebook were well aware that what they were doing was illegal, and that “Foxtel will be taking appropriate action”.
Exactly what that action is remains to be seen, but on the Foxtel website, it states, “the maximum penalty for such offences is 5 years imprisonment, or substantial fines, or both.”
What do you reckon – are they Aussie heroes, or do they deserve more than a slap on the wrist?