This weekend’s fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao was hyped as the fight of the century. Now, a new fight begins.
It cost viewers at home about $100 to order the pay per view event, but several hundred people used live streaming video apps like Meerkat and Periscope to broadcast it for free. They simply held the phone up to the TV. Now, those people could face legal action.
“The technology as a whole, I think, is going to be beneficial to consumers and broadcasters,” said attorney Mitch Stoltz.
Stoltz is an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which fights for consumer digital rights.
He believes live streaming companies shouldn't suffer when users rebroadcast licensed material.
“The makers of the technology, whether it's Sony in the case of the VCR, or Periscope with this new technology, isn't going to be responsible unless they were encouraging people to use it in illegal ways,” he said.
Saturday night after the boxing match, the Twitter CEO Dick Costolo tweeted:
“And the winner is…@periscopeco.”
Twitter recently acquired the live-streaming company.
Monday, Periscope issued a statement:
"Periscope operates in compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we respect intellectual property rights and are working to ensure there are robust tools in place to respond expeditiously. Unauthorized broadcasts of content that is protected by copyright is a clear violation of our content policy. It’s not the kind of content we want to see in Periscope."
A company spokesperson said of the 66 live streams red flagged by those who own the rights to the fight, Periscope shut down 30 of them within minutes. The remaining broadcasts had already ended and were no longer available.
As for why those broadcasters and advertisers would object? San Jose State University Advertising Professor John Delacruz said it’s not just about the lost money.
“I think the biggest problem that comes from allowing just anybody to broadcast live is that you can be damaging the brand itself," Delacruz said. "You can really leave yourself open to abuse."