Pirates may have had a hard time finding illegal streams of UFC on Saturday night, and that’s because UFC has decided to strike at the heart of the beat: Google. Zuffa, the parent company of UFC, sent Google a notice of copyright infringement (under the DMCA) the other day, asking Google to remove links to sites hosting illegal UFC streams. That way, once 10pm rolls around, it’s not as easy as typing into Google something like “free ufc stream” and watching the fights for free.
Now, Google gets DMCA takedown requests pretty much all the time, so it’s not like Zuffa has done something unusual here. That said, this is a clear indication that Zuffa’s whack-a-mole approach to fighting UFC streams hasn’t worked as well as it had hoped.
So, cut people off at the source: Google.
While it’s easy to take down HTTP streams, P2P streams are slightly harder to combat, being that there’s no central server or admin you can contact to kill the stream. You can pretty easily collect IP numbers, but unless Zuffa is looking to go the way of the RIAA, it’s pretty hard to kill streaming one IP address at a time. Zuffa has every right to try, of course, but it’s going to cost an awful lot of money.
One thing is certain: Zuffa doesn’t play games when it comes to protecting their IP, so expect this cat-and-mouse game to last for quite some time.