Live video streaming service Ustream is being sued by Square Ring, Inc, a boxing promotional company owned by professional boxer Roy Jones, Jr. The suit alleges that Ustream has committed “massive and blatant copyright infringement” by allowing 2,377 users to view a broadcast of the fight Roy Jones Jr. vs Omar Sheika free of charge. Furthermore, the suit says that Ustream has ignored repeated requests by Square Ring Inc. to gather more information about the infringement. From the suit:
Following the illegal exhibition of Plaintiff’s Copyrighted Broadcast on USTREAM’s website on March 21, 2009, notifying Defendants of the copyright and trademark infringements and, in a good faith effort to avoid litigation, requested information pursuant to Rules 26 and 34 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Plaintiff’s letter further advised Defendants that, to Plaintiff’s knowledge, they permitted approximately 2,377 users to view Plaintiff’s pay-per-view program completely free of charge, in violation of Plaintiff’s rights. To date, Defendants have neither complied with Plaintiff’s request nor responded to Plaintiff’s letter…
The court document, embedded below, also details Square Ring’s attempts to proactively prevent the event from being pirated. According to the suit, Square Ring sent Ustream four notices in the week leading up to the fight, asking that the service either provide a ‘take down tool’, or that it have staff actively monitor and delete any streams of the fight. The document says that while some other sites did provide take-down tools, Ustream did not cooperate.
Ustream has given us the following statement regarding the suit:
Ustream is serious about complying with the copyright laws and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and we’re aggressively taking short- and long-term steps to work with the content industry to meet their needs. We believe the Square Ring lawsuit does not have merit and that we’re fully protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act Safe Harbor provisions.
Piracy is a problem that has long plagued live video sites like Ustream and its competitors, which include Justin.tv. Because content is being streamed by users, it can be difficult for the services to monitor and prevent copyrighted material from being streamed. But while they’d never admit it, piracy can also help these sites establish sizable user bases — one need only look to YouTube for proof, which was a hotbed for pirated material in its early days and was later acquired by Google for $1.65 billion.
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