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Facebook Livestreams shutdown by Foxtel… Think before you go live or end up in a legal battle! #TechUKTV
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Facebook Livestreams shutdown by Foxtel… Think before you go live or end up in a legal battle! #TechUKTV

by adminFebruary 6, 2017

This weekend hundreds of thousands of people watched unauthorized Facebook livestreams of a highly anticipated rematch between two Aussie boxers. Pay TV channel Foxtel was prepared for the mass piracy fest and did everything in its power to disconnect the streams. The company eventually cut off feeds of several offenders and is now threatening legal action against those who dared to stream it.

boxingstreamOn Friday evening millions of Australians were tuning into to the long awaited rematch between the Australian boxers Anthony Mundine and Danny Green.

Those who wanted to watch it live couldn’t do so cheaply, as it was streamed exclusively by the pay TV provider Foxtel for AUS$59.95.

However, the Internet wouldn’t be the Internet if people didn’t try to find ways around this expensive ‘roadblock.’ And indeed, as soon as the broadcast started tens of thousands of people tuned into unauthorized live streams, including several homebrew re-broadcasts through Facebook.

While it’s not uncommon for unauthorized sports streams to appear on social media, the boxing match triggered a true piracy fest. At one point more than 150,000 fans streamed a feed that was shown from the account of Facebook user Darren Sharpe, who gained instant fame.

Unfortunately for him, this didn’t go unnoticed to the rightsholders. Foxtel was quick to track down Mr. Sharpe and rang him up during the match, a call the Facebook streamer recorded and later shared on YouTube.
“Sorry mate, I just had to chuck that on mute. So you want me to turn off my Foxtel because I can’t stream it?” Darren asked the Foxtel representative.

“No. I want you to stop streaming it on Facebook. Just keep watching the fight at home, there’s no dramas with that. Just don’t stream it on Facebook,” the Foxtel rep replied.

“Mate, I’ve got 78,000 viewers here that aren’t going to be happy with you. I just don’t see why it’s [not]legal. I’m not doing anything wrong, mate. What can you do to me?” Darren said in response.

“It’s a criminal offence against the copyright act, mate. We’ve got technical protection methods inside the box so exactly this thing can’t happen,” the representative replied.

Is Facebook Liable For Copyright Infringement In This Case?

Facebook was the provider of the live streaming service, so is it also in hot water? Well certainly what we CAN say is they wont want to be involved & as we have seen over the last few weeks there very keen to shut down groups & profiles who are sharing this kind of content! Were seeing KODI groups shut down left right and centre and genuinely this is a worry for users.

While Phillips noted that there is a safe harbour scheme that protects internet intermediaries such as ISPs from being liable for “inadvertently hosting or communicating infringing material on behalf of their users”, it does not cover social media and live streaming providers. That may change in the future as the Federal Government considers expanding the safe harbour scheme to protect service providers more broadly.

Then there are the terms and conditions of use for social media and live streaming services; often we agree to them without even reading them all the way through. These terms and conditions usually talk about how the companies are not responsible for what users do on the services provided.

Phillips is concerned that extending the safe harbour to service providers like Facebook will reduce the incentive of these companies from seeking licencing agreements with copyright holders.

“The problem with that is that it then provides a get-out-of-jail-free card for service providers and removes incentive to seek licences from rights holders,” she said. “Rights holders are also interested in providing consumers with access to content they want. Licencing seems like the best model for people to have access.”

Pricing should also be considered. Unlike the Melbourne Cup which was streamed for free, the Mundine V Green fight was rather expensive. Accessibility of content isn’t just about making it available on more platforms, it’s about offering it at a reasonable price as well.
Mr. Sharpe didn’t seem to be very impressed by the allegations, but Foxtel soon showed how serious it was. Since Facebook didn’t turn off the infringing streams right away, the pay TV provider decided to display the customer’s account numbers on the video streams, so they could disable the associated feeds.

According to Foxtel CEO Peter Tonagh, the streamers in question will soon face legal action. This means that the “free” streaming bonanza could turn out to be quite expensive after all.

ABC reports that Brett Hevers, another Facebook user whose unauthorized broadcast reached more than 150,000 people at its peak, believes he has done nothing wrong.

“I streamed the Mundine and Green fight mainly just so a few mates could watch it. A few people couldn’t afford the fee or didn’t have Foxtel so I just thought I’d put it up for them,” Hevers said.

“All of a sudden 153,000 people I think at the peak were watching it,” he adds.

Anticipating significant legal bills, fellow Facebook streamer Darren Sharpe has already decided to start a GoFundMe campaign to cover the cost. At the time of writing, the campaign has already reached over a quarter of the $10,000 goal.

This article should make you think yeah it might be cool to have 8k people watching you on live streams on facebook, but is it worth ending up in a legal battle over it? Spending thousands on legal fees to get out of trouble?

Not only that but you can see your facebook shut down & if you share to groups this kind of content will see the end of them groups also! So think! Don’t go live on facebook streaming your latest event! and certainly if you do don’t share it into your groups your involved with!

Use your head a little bit here guys! Don’t share this kind of stuff to our community groups #TechUKTV


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