The Zuffa legal eagles are flying high again, this time swooping down and sinking their talons into the scurvy pirates at Justin.tv, a popular destination for live (and illegally broadcasted) UFC programming.
After company President Dana White vowed to make life miserable for the chiselers who stream illegal feeds of live pay-per-view events, UFC.com now brings word that the Zuffa legal team may have bagged their latest casualty in the war on pirates.
Here are some of the gory details:
Zuffa, LLC ("Zuffa"), owner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship® ("UFC®") brand announced today that it filed a lawsuit against Justin.tv, Inc. ("Justin.tv") for copyright and trademark infringement in United States District Court for the District of Nevada arising from Justin.tv's repeated and ongoing failure to meaningfully address the rampant and illegal uploading of video of live Pay-Per-View UFC® events by members and users of the Justin.tv website. ... For example, on October 23, 2010, over 50,000 people watched live streaming feeds of the UFC 121 Pay-Per-View event. Indeed, third-party contractors hired and paid for by Zuffa, removed more than 200 infringing live streams of UFC 121 from the Justin.tv website. This piracy represents a significant loss of revenue to Zuffa and its mobile, online, cable and satellite distribution partners each year.
Apparently, Zuffa has tried to work with the popular streaming video website over the past couple of years to put a stop to infringing activities but they claim they've encountered only resistance. Not only that, they believe Justin.tv has been actively working against them.
"Zuffa has attempted to work on numerous occasions with Justin.tv over nearly a two-year period to encourage it to prevent or limit its infringing activities," Zuffa's Las Vegas attorney, Donald J. Campbell said. "Regrettably, Justin.tv has not only turned a blind eye to the massive online piracy occurring on its website, we believe it has actually induced its users to commit copyright infringement thus leaving Zuffa no alternative but to take this fight to the courts."
While I'm sure not many fans are losing sleep over the UFC's missing money, pirating pay-per-views is illegal. They may not be able to stop Internet piracy (many have tried and failed) but it's not unrealistic to think a few high profile cases involving the average Joe would at least help to deter future pirates.
The world's largest mixed martial arts promotion got to where they are today by being what they are -- business savvy with a ruthless streak for those that go up against them.
But is this a fight they can win?
Either way, consider yourselves warned! (Again)