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Sunday, 03/18/2012, 11:03 am

Can The UFC Sue You For Watching Illegal PPV Streams?


We ran a report last week announcing that the UFC has once again taken a proactive stance against on-line pirate’s and their streaming of licensed UFC broadcasts.

In the promotions most recent seizure they shut down a streaming website called greenfeedz.com.

What is different about this event was that the ZUFFA organization also obtained the website’s user database and announced through various media outlets that they will not only be go after the provider of these illegal streams but also the viewers.

If you have viewed illegally pirated UFC events through an on-line streaming site are you at risk?

Torrentfreak.com broke it down:

While the Ultimate Fighting Championship is the absolutely pinnacle of excitement for some, to others its merely two almost-naked men rolling round the floor in a pool of sweat and blood trying to snap each others arms off. But whatever your take, read on, because something the UFC announced this week has the potential to touch everyone who consumes video online.

The UFC has a track record of aggressive anti-piracy action. They’ve threatened countless bars for showing both illicit streams and under-licensed deliveries of their events, and gone after numerous sites, their operators, and uploaders.

But for quite some time the MMA organization has threatened to expand its reach by going beyond suing those actually providing illegal streams to suing those who simply watch them. To be fair most observers thought this was just another of UFC president Dana White’s famous rants, but this week an interesting picture began to emerge.

UFC announced on Tuesday that parent company Zuffa LLC had successfully taken down a site called Greenfeedz which had illegally streamed a dozen UFC events. While there’s nothing particularly unusual about that, the UFC casually noted that they had also obtained the email addresses, user names and IP addresses of people who allegedly watched unauthorized streams.

So maybe the UFC are just throwing that out there to scare people a little? Apparently not. In an interview with MMA Junkie, UFC chief legal counsel Lawrence Epstein confirmed that the fight organization will be going after individuals who watched events dating back to May 2011, a number said to be potentially “voluminous.”

Who gets sued and who doesn’t is yet to be decided, with Epstein noting that the the UFC needs to “have the requisite proof” that individuals actually watched shows without paying. Nevertheless, the lawyer predicts that the Greenfeedz databases will provide lots of information including “names, emails, telephone numbers and sometimes even addresses to identify those people that are watching illegally.”

But according to First Amendment attorney Marc Randazza, it is not at all clear how the UFC will take action against those who simply watched illicit streams.

“I have a very hard time finding a theory of liability for someone who merely watched an illegal broadcast. That’s like saying if a bar was illegally publicly presenting a movie or an NFL game, that everyone in the bar would be liable,” Randazza told TorrentFreak.

“My guess is that the UFC’s attorneys will not really go after people who merely watched the fights. They may, however, use the data they gather in order to find out if any of those people were re-distributing it,” Randazza adds.

Although it seems unlikely that the UFC will carry through with their threat to sue stream viewers, if they do they can expect opposition.

“If they’re really going after people for merely watching an illegal stream, I’d defend that case free of charge,” Randazza told TorrentFreak. “That’s not the right thing to do.”

Read More: UFC, Mixed Martial Arts

comments

63 Comments to Can The UFC Sue You For Watching Illegal PPV Streams?

  1. danriverapv says:

    all i know is iv never streamed a UFC before, iv bitched to Dana for free tickets cuz iv been buying since 101. fuck all you streamers. go complain somewhere else.

    • GET RID OF FITCH says:

      If UFC wasn’t so god damn greedy and just lowered price to $25 EVERYONE wouldn’t watch FREE streaming. Most UFC cards arn’t even worth $25 but i think most people would pay taht amount and they would sell 3 times as many PPV’s. But instead the UFC would rather spend millions on lawyers lawsuits chasing down every websit on planet. whats funny is they can’t do a damn thing to any of thsoe sites that are over seas. theya re just trying to make an example out of the ones in U.S jurisdiction with hopes of scaring the rest. I wish i could i could tell you all my favorite streaming website cause its overseas and it has never been shutdown NOT ONCE and they laugh at the UFC.

      • Thurgood Jenkins says:

        I totally agree with you that dropping PPV prices would increase viewership. Times are tough, so people just can’t shell out the 50 or 60 bucks a pop, especially when there are multiple events in a given month. DW is always talking about going mainstream by bringing in the fans. Dropping prices is a viable option. Let new fans see a few events on Fox, FX, or Fuel, and then they might be inclined to drop a few bucks here and there for PPV.

        But would that be an incentive for those who consistently watch free streaming? Naw. I’ve never done it personally, but I know people who have and who do. Cutting the price in half is not an effective measure to stop this problem. $25 would be a great price, but why would those people start paying 2,500% more than they are already paying? Free is the best price.

    • samkuk says:

      when has it ever stop them streaming b4 the never will and u can sue a 100 000 people but u wont get a penny from it silly u ufc

  2. Xaninho says:

    No they can’t, I don’t watch streams myself, cause I want to see it on the big screen.

    But if I did watch streams UFC couldn’t touch me, cause here in the Netherlands downloading and watching streams are not illegal.

    • waitwtfffwtfwtf says:

      Step 1: get a laptop
      Step 2: determine which cord type you need to connect your computer to your tv as a secondary monitor
      Step 3: google search “how to connect my laptop to my tv”

      I’m telling you this for the general knowledge that you can use your “big screen” tv as a secondary computer monitor.

      • Xaninho says:

        Thanks for that, but I know how to do that. The quality of streams aren’t exactly HD, so saying it doesn’t look great on a big screen is an understatement.

        • GET RID OF FITCH says:

          You need to find abetter stream. obviosly yu are using ones the UFC is trying to shutdown in the USA. look for one overseas taht they can’t ouch. look up free UFC streaming onn Google. my favorite one starts with an M

        • Dustin says:

          MOFREEZE

  3. yinyang says:

    Taking something that has been stolen from someone else is dishonorable – period. I try not to take sides, but Dana is one of those people you do not want to steal from. If you get sued, your problem for being a common thief. Especially if you are charging others like some bars. It won’t be hard to track you down either. I’ve seen posts on this site from many a genius bragging about watching illegal streams.

    • GET RID OF FITCH says:

      What i think is funny is Dana will sue anyone for stealing free streamimg but he DEFENDS a FEDERALL CONVICTED FELON who stole $65000 from a bank in aFRAUD scam one scumbag named Cahel Sonnen. its oke with Dana if his employess steal but he will spend millions going after some kid who uploads a free UFC. NOONE on this planet is more GREEDY than Dana White. A colleg dropout who was a nobody but happen to have family freinds (Feritas) that are BILLIONAIRES which EVERYONE knows they earned the old fashioned way they inherited it ALL. OK fro Chael sonnen to steal and CHEAT in atitle fight but not ok for some kid to watch sxomething on internet that all he ahs to do is push abutton

      • yinyang says:

        This is about stealing PPV. Dana’s dealings with Chael and the struggles between rich and poor are different discussions. There are way more greedy people in this world than Dana White, I assure you.

        • spiritsplice says:

          People watching aren’t stealing anything. They are watching what someone DID pay for and are broadcasting as they watch.

          Secondly, copying is not stealing. Stealing requires depriving one party of something by changing possession of the a tangible item. Copying does not accomplish this.

        • GET RID OF FITCH says:

          spiritsplice absolutely ingenious well said my man and TRUE

  4. yinyang says:

    BTW people who don’t pay thier own way are most likely the same people who complain the fighters don’t get paid enough. Maybe if you would buy the PPV there would be more revenues to share with the fighters?

  5. Mike McMack says:

    It’s only 5 bucks to go down to a sports bar and watch the fights. The UFC provides lots of free PPV’s to people so I don’t see why there’s a need to steal them. All you have to do is get a few friends to chip in to watch a home. I can’t afford to watch them all live but when the card has fights I want to see i make sure to buy them.

    • Mike McMack says:

      I meant free events not PPV’s.

    • GET RID OF FITCH says:

      Everytime i have ever done that (got firnds togther to pitch in) all fights ended up sucking anyway so noone is interested in doing that anymore. Sports bar where i go most of time had such a bad experience with fans almost rioting and literly throwing full beer bottles at the big screen when JOn Fitch was “fitching” the owner has vowed to never show another JOn Fitch fight. H esaid the customers that got all pissed off were some of his best all time customers and he totally understood theri hatred towards Jon Fitch cheating ass “fitching” which is not fighting and boring as all hell. last tim e out he did show the johny hendricks KO of Fitch after fights were over and i have never seen more people (WHO DIDN’t EVEN KNOW EACH OTHER) hug and celebrate buying rounds drinks for everyone. so al you (3 or so) Fitch nuthuggers in world i saw it with my own eyes hyndreds of fans jumping up and down after they saw Fitch get KO’d. Noonbe is worse for the promoting of sport to new fans than Jon Lay n Pray Fitch

  6. Nick says:

    It’s kinda messed up. What if you have college kids who are a tight budget and want to watch it, but can’t afford $10 to go to a bar and watch it. Personally I’ve only watched like 3 streamed UFC. But I just go with my neighbors to a bar now. Still if you’re going to sue people for watching it, that’s a bad message you’re sending. That’s basically saying if you can’t afford it you don’t deserve to watch it.

    • Mike McMack says:

      Understood, hopefully the UFC gets to a point where PPV isn’t something they do anymore. Wont happen for a long time if it ever does happen.

      • Nick says:

        It would be nice. I mean for the time being they should lower it to like $30 a PPV or have a yearly deal for like $200 and you could watch all the PPV’s. Like have a designated UFC PPV channel that you subscribe to and it shows the replay of the last PPV until the next one. Kind of like the Sunday ticket. They would bank a couple hundred mil that way.

  7. drew says:

    i dare therm to go after fans who stream for free…they couldn’t stop us if they tried

    • K2 says:

      Agreed. I have every fight from 98 on. And was thinking of getting tickets to 145 in ATL but the prices are $150-$450. FUCK THAT. You can either have shit tons fans that watch the sport however they can view it. OR have a much smaller contingent of fans that can afford to spends $800+ a year to see all the fights. Sorry, I’m broke. But my internet works fine. ;) Fans are fans. You won’t have fans if they can’t see the fights. And one day when I can afford to I might give DW some money. But until then, a pirate fan I’ll be.

      • GET RID OF FITCH says:

        I wonder if i offer to wear a patch over on eye while i’m streaming my next UFC if that will make me more of a priate and less of a fan?

    • Mike McMack says:

      Dana is dumb enough to try!

  8. warrior808 says:

    Why would you register for a stream when there are tons of sites that stream ppvs without having to do that? Youre basically asking to be caught when you provide any info for something that is illegal.

    Anyway I doubt the ufc will go after everyone who watched illegal streams. I mean the music industry tried a similar approach but ppl still download music illegally.

  9. lol says:

    If you have the money you should pay but if you dont you should stream. The events are not worth the 50 bucks that often but I pay for the events. I feel if you are broke you should be able to stream for free.. There are more people than there are jobs so you cant expect everyone to have money like that. You people that dont have the money I got your backs.. Stream for free all you want..

  10. Ninja Oreo Dollop says:

    This is pretty lame. If they are going after those who stream it’s possible they are also going after their pocketbook as well, the people who buy the cards. No one is innocent, I am 90% sure that everyone on BJPENN.COM has watched the fights online at some point. Lower the price of the fights and less people will illegally stream.

    Personally I try to watch every fight at the bar and if not at my place. But, I almost never watch it at home or with my friends because they don’t like UFC, MMA or Boxing… It’s too expensive to watch with just my girlfriend and if the bar is full because of another sporting event like Football, Basketball or Soccer, I’m shit out of luck. Also there aren’t enough bars in my area that show the fights and places like Buffalo Wild Wings charge $60 a table to watch the fights which is robbery.

    I don’t like watching the streams because I like watching the fights live and the quality is better when ordered but sometimes I have to resort to that. But, I always wait till the next day to watch if that’s the case.

  11. Bobbie Dooley says:

    Pft I remember my friend was streaming one of the fights on his notebook, I slapped him across the face because he thought 12 of us wanted to huddle around his small laptop. I connected that POS to my infocus and projected that thing on the wall great quality.

    I think it was an official UFC stream thou so we are clear!

    As of late I just go to one of 2 bars here in town that show it I go to one more than the other since thers NO COVER! only thing is they have beastly bartenders I would have to spend the the amount that equals to 6 PPV of alcohol to hit on one of those bartenders.

  12. Zack says:

    Ya Lower the price to 30 and sales would sky rocket. That’s like paying 50 dollars to rent a movie. Stupid

    • Ninja Oreo Dollop says:

      I’d pay $30 to watch in the comfort of my own home. They should lower the price to $30 until they faze out the PPV system. I bet they could faze it out faster if they lowered the price that way more mainstream fans and those sitting on the fence about MMA could have access. MMA still has a bad stigma. It’s a WIN, WIN. .

  13. Officer Farva says:

    Well Dana said he sees the future of UFC not having any PPV events. Well start that future rigth MEOW!

  14. UFC VIDEOS says:

    i wonder what fight lawyer would say about this

  15. the original steve says:

    i hope not

  16. Nando says:

    I don’t stream, so no biggy. BWW ftw

  17. el aussie loco says:

    you know. i love the ufc and all…..but the UFC is starting to sound like the greedy arsehole kid that brings the ball to play, and decides who plays and who doesnt……even heaps of fan made highlight videos on youtube have been taken down cause of zuffa infrindgement?…..common,…..

  18. Quenten says:

    Pffffft… Ill continue to stream it and if im not at home or busy ILL DOWNLOAD IT.. Yeah fuck paying $50 unless its a unbelivable card but that never happens anymore because there’s too many fighters in the UFC now and most of them are shit… BUT saying all that I do purchase UFC events if I get the boys to come over, I dont wanna look like a cheap skape to them.. Anyway go RASHAD EVANS in APRIL.. ILL BE STREAMING that shit… YEAH AHHHHH

  19. HaVaginaButts says:

    I’ve been attending UFC events in person all the way back to UFC 22. I have bought merchandise. I have gone to the fan fests. I’ve done grapple tournaments. The UFC has seen plenty of my money.

    I’m an MMA diehard and I don’t keep the company of many people who do. The guido roidheads who wear bedazzled t-shirts three sizes too small ruin going to Buffalo Wild Wings and the like. Fights almost always break out. People throw drinks. Hell, there was a shooting outside of one BWW that I had gone to (happened 20 minutes after I had left).

    Can I afford paying for all the PPVs? No. Do I stream? Yes, but not just UFC but fights from all over the world. Do I support my favorite fighters like BJ Penn by buying his gear? Yes. There’s a reason why Dana himself has stated that UFC is moving to the free network television model. PPVs more than 12 times a year is an unsustainable model that killed boxing.

  20. Justin says:

    Its just gonna keep happening Dana!

  21. Mat says:

    I recognize that stealing PPV’s is not a good thing to do. The fighters work their asses off and deserve to be paid, but this is not the solution. Dana, myself and my roommates do buy your PPV’s, and head to the bars to watch the majority of those we don’t, but we’re fucking college students. I don’t have a job, and I’m broke. I can’t afford every PPV as much as I’d like to, and sometimes streaming is honestly the only option. Should I continue to watch every show, and watch 3/4 of them through legitimate sources, streaming only a few per year, or should I fall behind, become uninterested, and stop buying any? The solution is to lower the god damn price, or just do less PPV’s. More free shows and do the massive cards on PPV. That would build the fan base and the UFC could still do like 9 PPV’s per year. That would build the sport and make them a ton of money. Or they could lower the cost to $25, we’d have absolutely no problem paying that every month. Going after the people who watch the streams is not the solution as most of those people do buy the majority of the shows, but just can’t afford to get them all. The evidence of this is the quality of the streams. Who would rather watch a streamed shithole quality show when you could see the HQ version the UFC offers. When possible, we always watch the HQ ones!

  22. ZeroXcuses says:

    Im just a poor college kid that loves the sport, sorry ufc but im not spending over $50 to see fights. Make them free and start running a bunch of ads or commercials in between fights. Charging bars and places that actually gain business from showing the fights is one thing, making the average person pay is another.

  23. Dameon says:

    Dana is an idiot when it comes to legal matters. He is so used to bullying people and getting his way, that he has lost all sense. There is no way in the world that he would win a lawsuit against a person for just viewing the stream. Companies are barely able to win lawsuits against people who host videos and distribute them. Going to be funny when he keeps this up and starts to alienate more and more fans. UFC is already becoming crappy boxing, just going to add more reason for people to say screw it.

  24. Im so scurred says:

    Who gives a shit?not me…cant wait for da next stream you greedy pricks :)

  25. Eric says:

    I am under the impression that the UFC will sue the people that PURCHASED a UFC PPV illegally from greenfeedz.com. The law distinguishes between people that pay for illegal streams as opposed to watching an illegal stream free. If you pay for pirated material you are a pirate too. If you do not pay you should be okay. Don’t ever give any personal info to any entity associated with pirated material, not just UFC.

  26. mmaislandjunkie says:

    gimme a break shows how much money they have to waste it on attorneys fees instead of paying their fighters more. top fighters should be earning millions not quarter mils.

  27. I have to disagree with you guys saying that dropping the prices will mean more people ordering PPV. They cost $50 and everyone complains and steals it. If it was $20, everyone would complain and steal it anyway. People are arrested all the time for stealing shit in stores that costs a dollar, so it doesn’t have anything to do with the value. If there were hordes of people out there waiting to watch PPV who couldn’t afford $50, they’d find a friend or two and split the cost. There’s your $20 PPV and everyone is still stealing it. I don’t blame them for being mad. I’d be mad too if I was trying to sell something and a bunch of assholes kept stealing it.

  28. NotEvenClose says:

    I only look for streams for fucking Fuel TV. I havent met a single person or place that has it. Other then that I split PPVs with friends.

  29. jonesy says:

    i pay 50$ every month or someties 2 timeS A month..but i wanna start streaming cuz i dont agree with the decisions latley and i wanna stop givingthe ufc money…i wanna stream until nick diaz gets his title shot

    • GET RID OF FITCH says:

      With more fighters like Fitch, Mendes, Sheilds in UFC i see less fans wanting to buy PPV’s. I ‘m pretty sure dan alreadfy addressd the fact Fitch stinks up his cards and he has no choice but to drop him to untelevised pre-lims. We pay to aee fighting not Fitching

  30. Pijan says:

    When you’re trying to make it mainstream it would be wise not to prosecute the fans. I’ve been watching UFC for a long time. Long before 100, long before Matt Serra knocked out GSP. I’ve never bought a UFC PPV, Not because I’m poor, because it’s not worth the money. Most cards end up putting me to sleep. I’ve been watching UFC for who knows how long and I can count on one hand how many cards were good though and through. Have I streamed? Twice. Anderson Silva fighting in Rio and Rich Franklin knocking out Evan Tanner (RIP). With that said, Dana White is scum. Get Rid of Fitch couldn’t of said it better. You give people like Cheal Sonnen and Rob Emmerson (cause we ain’t forgot about that) jobs but you sue your fans for trying to watch your product? Sorry Dana, we can’t all have billionaire friends, some of us work for a living. And Yes, I do complain about Fighters not getting paid as much as they should, so when Dana sues me, he can use that money to pay his fuckin’ fighters for once. (P.S, this “UFC on FX” is horse shit, you give us one fight that you know ain’t worth being paid for and act like it’s compensation? Fuck you.)

  31. DJ Hi-Tek says:

    I remember Dana White saying that in the future the UFC will be moving away from pay-per-view (hopefully). I think it’s great that FX and FOX put on fights for free, but the great main event cards are always pay-per-view.
    I agree with some of the comments, shelling out $50 bucks is expensive. Imagine having to pay for a NBA or Football game, every time. Joe Rogan said the same about busting the people who view the streamed fights, they are just trying to watch the fight, you can’t blame them. If you’re running a streamed website, distributing and making money off advertising, then you really have to be careful. As soon as you shut one site down, another pops up, and there are so many of them out there. It’s almost impossible to stop.

  32. John says:

    Dana has fucking lost it!

  33. travis tift says:

    monthy dish bill-$50, just to have service so i can order a $50 fight. ok, $100 so far for 1 fight. no big deal,right? well im a big fan and want to pay, but i like to feed my kids more than watch the fights, and with 2 or 3 a month plus the dish service, come on now! I’ve paid for many, but it got too expensive. watching UFC PPV is more than my car payment.

  34. Yea but says:

    Pedro is lose money style :)

  35. best opinion on the nets says:

    No. Live streaming or even watching it on a torrent will not get you sued. In simplicity; it is like having friends over to watch a PPV but on a bigger scale. If they sued somebody for watching it on a live stream then they could sue everybody for watching it on a PPV at a friends house or at a bar.

    End of story.

  36. UFC not KFC says:

    Didn’t know you had to register with your email to live stream??? Haven’t ever streamed a PPV but I might know a couple people who have and I think they’re smart enough not to register with a site to live stream. Anyways $60 is too much, people are gonna do what they’re gonna do. Shut down one site, 20 more pop up.

  37. aeef says:

    good job

  38. Mach00man says:

    As long as I’m paying for my internet service, then I can watch anything online that is being offered for free. Nobody on this planet can tell you that if you happen to come across a free stream of a UFC event on the internet, that you cant watch it!

    I’ve been a fan since UFC 1, when the only way to watch that shit was to trade VHS tapes with my neighbors. Oh wait….was that stealing too?

  39. BJ Pencil says:

    man, the UFC are fucking Nazi’s with this illegal streaming shit…

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