Jan 25, 2021

Ultimate Pirating Championship

UFC president Dana White is no stranger to strong rhetoric and hyperbole. The build up to UFC 257 was no different, with White passionately denouncing pirate streams and even going so far as to say that his team had identified a particular pirate and had police standing by to arrest him if he launched an illegal stream on fight night.

Unfortunately for White, pirates provided a far better service to UFC fans on Saturday night/Sunday morning than the US broadcaster ESPN+.

ESPN+ sold pay per view tickets to the event for $70. 1.3m people bought the event, but when trying to log in to view the undercard, a huge number of users experienced crashes and buffering, including many professional fighters who, as well as being fans, wanted to watch to scout future opponents.

After a significant Twitter thread ran the gamut of “this is too expensive for such a terrible service” to “send me illegal streams” (that last one from a blue-tick UFC fighter), the pirates won out (many of whom had been spurred on by White's threats). Despite all of White’s best efforts, literally hundreds of different illegal streams were available varying in quality and cost (many of them free), and amost all of which offered a more consistent streaming experience than the official US partner.

Pay per view services in the rest of the world seemed to fair much better, but there were illegal streams hosted in Europe, Asia, and Australia as well. If you have any issues concerning digital piracy or any other intellectual property issue, please get in touch with the team at legal@mcdanielslaw.com or on 0191 281 4000.

Posted by: Adham Harker in: Copyright, Digital/Tech, EU/International

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