Foxtel has caved and chosen not to pursue legal action against the individuals who live streamed the Mundine v Green fight a few weeks ago – instead taking the opportunity to “educate them both” about the harm they were doing.
This is a really interesting move from Foxtel, who had every right to chase them. While many people would have felt it was an attack, it was well within their rights.
Foxtel CEO Peter Tonagh said “Rather than taking legal action, we decided to take the opportunity to educate both of them about the significant harm such actions bring to the production of local Australian content, including live sports.
“We have given the individuals the opportunity to formally apologise via a public social media post, acknowledging the gravity of the situation, in the hopes that more people will learn that copyright theft is not a victimless crime and something that should be taken very seriously.
Clearly, as part of the agreement, both Darren Sharpe and Brett Hevers had to agree to publicly post on Facebook an apology, and have no doubt signed a “we won’t do it again” agreement with Foxtel who may well have reserved their right to legal action.
Mr Tonagh went on to say “Illegal streaming and file sharing of any kind impacts the viability of the entire content industry, and threatens the livelihoods of the thousands of people employed by it, including athletes, actors, technicians, editors, caterers, set designers and many others.
“In addition, if revenue opportunities are undermined sports fans will suffer as sports presenters and promoters will have difficulty affording the costs of staging these fights and other events.”
So, did they go soft? Or are they keeping their powder dry for the next time?
Foxtel won’t really have a huge vested interest in protecting NRL and AFL because it’s Telstra who own those Digital rights – we’ll see how they treat illegal streamers in the months ahead because this certainly won’t be the last time it happens.
Importantly, we won’t know until the next big blockbuster if Foxtel too have learned a lesson – you’ve got to make these things available online, 70% of Aussies aren’t Foxtel customers, that’s a huge untapped market.
A bigger question is what is Facebook doing about it?