Sports Game Streamers Aren't Pirates, They're Underserved Customers

from the express-written-consent-is-for-schmucks dept

Like the leaders of many pro sports leagues around the world, the people who run English Premier League soccer are worried that the proliferation of sites that stream their games online will hamper their ability to get broadcasters to sign multibillion-dollar TV rights deals. Now the league says it's planning "an aggressive campaign to protect its intellectual property rights" to protect the TV deals. It's the usual stuff: more cease and desist letters, balanced with calls for governments to get more involved and for ISPs to become copyright cops. The article in The Guardian says that the league is "terrified of following the path of the music industry, which saw its business model collapse after it failed to combat digital piracy."

This is typical rhetoric, painting the recording business' problem to be inadequate technological and legal defenses against piracy. It's plainly obvious the issue for the music industry is the failure to adapt its business model to changing times -- and the same could be said for many sports leagues. While the leagues seek to crack down on streaming sites, their existence merely points out missed opportunities for the leagues and their teams to generate business. People don't choose to watch these streams instead of attending a game, or in lieu of watching a crystal-clear legit TV feed in a bar or with friends; they watch them because they're the only option. If piracy is as rampant a problem as groups like the Premier League suggests, it's not a problem -- it's a captive market upon which the league (and perhaps its broadcast partners) should capitalize.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    mc, Jan 27th, 2009 @ 3:59pm

    Is this true?????

    "People don't choose to watch these streams instead of attending a game, or in lieu of watching a crystal-clear legit TV feed in a bar or with friends; they watch them because they're the only option"

    I don't thinks this statement is true. Although some people may watch these streams because it is the only option, the majority, in my personal experience, watch it because it is much comfortable for them: they dont pay to watch the game, they dont have to move from their houses, etc.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2009 @ 4:02pm

    I usually watch it if it's not available on TV or when I'm in college - because I don't have TV (and it's more convenient then finding the closest person that is having a watching party - I get ads either way).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2009 @ 6:02pm

    Re: Is this true?????

    mc -> "I don't thinks this statement is true."
    mc -> "Although some people may watch these streams because it is the only option"

    I dont think you can make up your mind.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    mc, Jan 27th, 2009 @ 6:17pm

    Re: Re: Is this true?????

    Come on, it is perfectly clear what I meant. I meant that the statement that people watch streams because it's their only option is quite general. In my personal opinion the mayority wathc streams because it more convenient for them.

    Please comment the real issue, about what do you think of the article, and not if I cannot make up my mind, which is something without any importance to the readers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    JT, Jan 27th, 2009 @ 7:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Is this true?????

    Some may watch simply because they like to hear it and flip over to see a play while in their office or could take it or leave it. Most actual fans aren't going to sit on their computer to watch a game attentively. I would bet I couldn't find a person I know that would rather watch a stream than a game on the couch. That's fine if it's more convenient for you and I'm sure there are people that feel the same way but I would highly doubt very many people like that would be pissed if it were gone tomorrow.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2009 @ 8:21pm

    Hey, hook up your slingbox and modify it to stream (which can and has been done) and sign up for as many pay per view shows that you can handle.

    There is a market for that too, and I don't think that it would be hard to find customers for that, but unless you call price undercutting an underserved market, that isn't right.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Ima Fish, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 5:43am

    Let's ask a more fundamental question: Do sports really deserve any copyright protection?

    Clothes can certainly be artistic, but they do not receive any protection. The preparation of food can certainly be artistic, but yet, it does not receive any protection.

    Exactly how does two groups of men running around kicking a ball constitute an original work?! Does me, right now, typing at work constitute a copyrightable act? Does me waiting for the bus with a group of other men constitute an original work? I don't get it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Oblechkin, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 6:21am

    Re: Is this true?????

    Completely true. Case in point - NHL All Star game. Here are your choices - Versus - well we dont have cable and if we had cable, it is entirely possible we would not have versus. It is difficult to justify the cost when you watch only a few games on TV. Okay, next option, NHL online. The NHL has a high streaming video price and it has an automatic renew policy monthly and annually - the only way you can cancel is to call a telephone number. You can sign up online but you have to cancel by phone. Been there; done that - they will hold you on the phone for 30 min while you cancel. Oh yeah, and you pay all this money but the local market is blacked out.

    Okay. No cable and online video is a bad idea. I just want to watch one game. Well, my son found it streamed online. We watched. We enjoyed it. And NHL didnt get any revenue from us - that's not a feature - that's a missed opportunity.

    The key here is the NHL needs to provide a real online alternative where you can watch your home team and not pay silly prices - HULU does it. Other online video sites do it. I think the baseball option is pretty good. So why does the NHL lack a complete clue?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Tony, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 8:06am

    Re:

    "Exactly how does two groups of men running around kicking a ball constitute an original work?"

    Maybe each play should be copyrighted. Then if someone else makes the same play, the person making it the first time could sue for infringement.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    mat, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 12:58pm

    Its not the sport that is protected by copyright. Indeed anybody can play, etc. It is the transmition of a specific game that is protected. Somebody build up a transmition, installed cameras in strategic places to watch the game in every spot, even sometimes in artistic ways, and the "final product" of all the mixture is what is protected, not the game itself. It's the a specific and single transmition of the game that is protected. Thats why if somebody reproduces the final product without authorization, he is infringing. This is my opinion, but I understand that others may not agree. Thanks.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    mat, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 12:59pm

    Its not the sport that is protected by copyright. Indeed anybody can play, etc. It is the transmition of a specific game that is protected. Somebody build up a transmition, installed cameras in strategic places to watch the game in every spot, even sometimes in artistic ways, and the "final product" of all the mixture is what is protected, not the game itself. It's the a specific and single transmition of the game that is protected. Thats why if somebody reproduces the final product without authorization, he is infringing. This is my opinion, but I understand that others may not agree. Thanks.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    David, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 1:27am

    Sky and Setanta

    So what's the view on people like myself? I pay for both Sky Sports and Setanta Sports to watch the matches on the big screen, and use the internet to watch the matches that aren't being shown on tv. Surely in that respect, I'm not actually doing anything wrong, if a nasty man from the Premier League came knocking on my door and found me watching his product online at half past 3 on a Saturday afternoon, claiming I was stealing his revenue, surely I could just point to my Sky boxe(s) and show him I already pay for his product, what could he possibly say then? Actually, perhaps that could be a new rule. It's illegal to watch the Premier League online, unless you also subscribe to Sky and Setanta, that way, the Premier League aren't losing out on any revenue.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Rob Miller, Apr 9th, 2010 @ 5:18am

    Other

    Cool site

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Peter Nicholls, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 4:06am

    Football on TV

    I have SKY with a full package but am denied the right to see the game because the match is a sell-out with Sky electing to show the game between Sunderland & Newcastle.
    How they can justify this I do not understand as they have shown Newcastle 4 days previously v.Arsenal.
    This is surely proving the system is flawed as they are denying Thousands the right to view the game.
    I would add I am a season ticket holder at Birmingham but Aston Villa have only allocated 1400 tickets for away supporters.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This