UFC Makes The Awful Decision To Sue Some Of Its Biggest Fans

from the short-sighted dept

Having recently lost its attempt to blame Justin.tv for the fact that some of its users stream Ultimate Fighting Championship matches, UFC's parent company Zuffa is moving ahead with its strategy of going after its fans directly. This isn't entirely new. A few years ago, the company announced plans to sue fans, even though it admitted at the time that the costs of such lawsuits would outweigh any benefits. Of course, that alone should make you wonder what Zuffa management is thinking, but it seems that their entire thought process is "piracy bad, must stop," and that's about it.

The latest move is that Zuffa was able to get user information from Greenfeedz.com, one of the websites that let people watch unauthorized feeds of UFC's pay-per-view (PPV) events. This plan is very reminiscent of when DirecTV ran one of the first of these extortion-like shakedown campaigns by getting the list of customers from a seller of smart cards (which had other legitimate purposes) and then demanding $3,500 from each of them. That action did not go well for DirecTV, leading to multiple lawsuits, including from former employees, and the company eventually dropped the program altogether. Stunningly, Zuffa's lawyer compares his situation to the DirecTV situation... but seems to ignore the massive backlash it created, the legal pushback and the eventual dropping of the program.

Of course, as we also noted in that post a couple years ago about Zuffa's plan to sue fans, huge numbers of people are perfectly willing to pay large sums for the PPV fights, and the numbers seem to keep growing. It seems to depend more on who's fighting rather than whether or not unauthorized streams are available. That said, in explaining why they're going to sue their fans, Zuffa's legal boss, Lawrence Epstein, said that he believes the company has an obligation to sue the fans.

But, even more ridiculous is the response when someone asks about suing fans. Epstein claims that UFC loves its fans, but anyone who infringes is simply not a fan at all. However, that's ridiculous. An article by Ben Fowlkes at MMAFighting.com provides a wonderful explanation for why this is a ridiculous claim:
For starters, the UFC seems to believe that there are two types of MMA fans: the type who buys the pay-per-views, and the type who watches them illegally. In reality, the line between those two groups is probably a lot blurrier than Zuffa realizes. Chances are very good that some of the people who have streamed events in the past have also bought them, and probably will buy them again at some point in the future. Maybe they only pony up the $55 for the pay-per-view when the card is good enough, or when they can get friends to split the cost with them. Maybe they stream it when they only care about one or two fights, or when they’re simply too strapped for cash to afford it.

My point is, not all piracy is created equal, at least on the receiving end, and attacking viewers as if they are distributors could do much more harm than good.

For instance, picture a 19-year-old college student just about anywhere in America. He wants to see a UFC event, but maybe he can’t even afford basic cable, let alone a pay-per-view. He can’t go to a bar to watch the fights (unless he has a convincing fake ID), so he stays home and finds an illegal stream on his laptop, because he can't stand to miss the big fight. Then, months later, he gets sued by the UFC.

What’s going to happen when that kid graduates, goes to work, and finds a job that will allow him to enjoy luxury expenses like pay-per-views? You think he’s going to become a loyal customer of the company that sued him back when he was struggling to buy books? You think he’s going to buy a ticket to see a UFC event when it comes to his city? You think he’s going to buy merchandise or watch free events or patronize the UFC in any way after that experience? Maybe. Or maybe he’ll hold a little bit of a grudge. You know, for the rest of his natural life.
That's the amazing thing about so many anti-piracy attempts. They simply don't take into account the actual situation, and what the real costs and benefits of their actions are. They just think "piracy bad, must stop." They refuse to accept that those who are infringing may have reasons for doing so beyond "I'll never give any money to these people ever." Not actually understanding that seems like a huge strategic blunder. For all the talk of having an "obligation" to sue fans, I would think that the company's officers actually have an obligation to the company's shareholders, which means not making braindead moves that actually hurt the bottom line. And yet that seems to be the ultimate plan here.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 9:23am

    Because not suing fans is simply stealing from lawyers.

     

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    sehlat (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 9:28am

    The New, New, New Business Model

    1. Locate the most passionate, determined-to-be-your-customers customers.

    2. Sue them.

    3. Profit! [walks off laughing hysterically]

     

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    Jay (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 9:32am

    I've always said Dana White is a meathead who doesn't understand economics. Consider me unsurprised that he's going to cannibalize his own sales by suing his fans.

     

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    John Doe, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 9:34am

    UFC = Human Dog Fighting?

    Not sure why the UFC is even legal.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 9:36am

    Haha! The people who just take what they want, illegally and while knowingly breaking the law, are "fans."

    God, you're despicable.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 9:41am

      Re:

      Haha! The people who take what they want, illegally, and while knowingly breaking the law, are "corporations."

      God, you're despicable.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 9:50am

      Re:

      Yep, finding a stream because you can't see it otherwise (Reasons many.) means you'll never bother to go to a match, pay for the merchandise or pay for pay for view later.

      So yeah, sue away and see how that goes for you in the future.
      Oh wait, you've been brainwashed by the *AA that everyone who does not pay (At any time, now or maybe later.) is never going to be a fan, much less a potential paying customer.

      Seriously, a person may have watched a stream and owe $55? Isn't that really small potatoes? I would think that the big $$ at risk are located elsewhere and need the team of lawyers there instead of suing potential fans.

      Doesn't business school teach that Goodwill have a potential value?

      Oh well, carry on.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 10:27am

      Re:

      Knowingly breaking a "law" bought with bribes AKA campaign contributions is about as big on the crime scale as giving your friend a manicure without a license.

       

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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 9:37am

    10 friends

    If you piss off one customer, s/he'll be sure to influence 10 friends against you.

    If you make 10 customers happy, one will likely influence a friend in your favor.

    I learned that effing ages ago in the pizza business--and it still holds true.
    Our theoretical college student would likely not only hold a grudge, but also spend years telling anybody who'll listen about that one time those UFC lawyer arseholes sued him.

     

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      PRMan, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 10:42am

      Re: 10 friends

      If you piss off one customer, s/he'll be sure to influence 10 friends against you.

      If you make 10 customers happy, one will likely influence a friend in your favor.


      So true...

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 9:46am

    " it seems that their entire thought process is "piracy bad, must stop," and that's about it. "

    No, the thought process is "we sell a scarcity, and when people turn it infinite, it won't be able to be sold".

    Why would you think that people who take, take, take, and don't give back anything are the "biggest fans"? That's like saying the homeless guy that uses your restaurant bathroom 20 times a day is your best customer. You are fooling yourself if you think that.

     

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      Chris Rhodes (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 9:50am

      Re:

      Remember, folks:

      1. Read post.
      2. Then comment.

      Otherwise, you'll look silly and illiterate like this guy.

       

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      The Infamous Joe (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 9:54am

      Re:

      Be honest: you didn't read anything Mike typed, did you? I only ask, because it specifically addresses this argument.

      For starters, the UFC seems to believe that there are two types of MMA fans: the type who buys the pay-per-views, and the type who watches them illegally. In reality, the line between those two groups is probably a lot blurrier than Zuffa realizes. Chances are very good that some of the people who have streamed events in the past have also bought them, and probably will buy them again at some point in the future. Maybe they only pony up the $55 for the pay-per-view when the card is good enough, or when they can get friends to split the cost with them. Maybe they stream it when they only care about one or two fights, or when they’re simply too strapped for cash to afford it.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 10:12am

        Re: Re:

        No, that is Mike making a bunch of "supposings" without anything to back it up. Not a single shred of proof there at all.

        It also once again contracts the idea that piracy has not costs. Would the guy in his example who sometimes buys the card maybe buy more often if the pirated version is not available? I can "suppose" just like Mike does. He has absolutely nothing to back up his statements.

        "Maybe" is a way of saying "I don't know".

         

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          Machin Shin (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 10:17am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Well I can't offer really offer "evidence" in this case. I can tell you though that I have had a company that I paid money to later start process of trying to sue. Pretty much same kind of thing. I had paid for their product before and was likely to buy again. Soon as I saw their name on a legal document the chance of me giving them any more business dropped to zero. Attacking fans will not help you gain any friends. It will instead turn fans into enemies.

           

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          Another AC, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 10:23am

          Re: Re: Re:

          So taking actions that *might* alienate huge portions of your fan base is better than taking actions that definitely won't?

          Good luck with that :)

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 10:53am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            yeah, because it MIGHT not alienate anyone who was going to spend any money with you anyway. An action that keeps the freeloaders happy but hurts your business is not exactly something that is a very good idea.

            Do you honestly think that, if nobody pushed the issue of copyright infringement, that we would have any PPV business at all? the only people buying would be people buying it to stream. So you would get 1 sale for every couple of hundred freeloaders. That won't make the business go, will it?

            I think musical acts "selling the scarce" with $500 concert tickets are doing much worse to alienate fans, but that is apparently okay by Mike.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 11:02am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              If there was no PPV business, anywhere the world over, why would that be a bad thing?

              Wouldn't any company, in this world where PPV doesn't exist, come up with another way to make money?

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 11:16am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Yeah, musical acts should just fight to the death if they want to make any money whatsoever.

               

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              Another AC, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 11:36am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "An action that keeps the freeloaders happy but hurts your business is not exactly something that is a very good idea."

              This sentiment of yours is based on many flawed assumptions. One of which is that your business can survive on trying to create artificial scarcity, something I think others here have debunked already.

              "Do you honestly think that, if nobody pushed the issue of copyright infringement, that we would have any PPV business at all? the only people buying would be people buying it to stream. So you would get 1 sale for every couple of hundred freeloaders."

              The PPV business came about because it filled a market need - people were willing to pay a premium for premium content. But that's isn't the point. The real point is that when PPV was developed there was no other means to make it work, but today there is! In other words, instead of trying to make the old world still work, you have to adapt to the new world.

              PPV companies didn't start out in that business, and they won't end in that business. Your entire argument is based on the fact that PPV must be around forever, and fr that reason it is flawed.

               

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              Brendan (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 8:47pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              1. But what about the trade off in merchandising money? Don't you think if everyone were able to watch the fights, there would be more fans? And if there are more fans, there are more people to buy merch and live tickets. Surely you must at least realize there is some balance there to be looked at.

              2. You seem to have trouble reading. Some fans (and yes, they are) may use free streams now, but pay later. Why do you completely discount this? Do you not want any business at all from people only willing to pay sometimes? That seems like a stupid business decision to me.

              3. If that's the price the market will bear and still sell out the show, so be it. What good do lower prices do if they get snatched up within 5 minutes of sale, largely by speculators and scalpers who will charge close to market value anyways... with most money NOT going to the artists. I'd rather be able to buy tickets at the real price from a real vendor without having to camp at my computer for the on sale time hitting refresh like a maniac.

              I say let all fans submit the price they are willing to pay, then in decreasing order people get to pick their seats.

               

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              TtfnJohn (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 8:50pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "I think musical acts "selling the scarce" with $500 concert tickets are doing much worse to alienate fans, but that is apparently okay by Mike."

              If the acts fans are willing to pay that then why not? And acts that can collect that much for prime tickets also draw scalpers who double and triple those prices so the fans must be okay with it.

              UFC seems to rely on it's PPV more than a lot of sports which may be why they're so protective of it. It seems to me, and others, though that suing your fans isn't exactly the right way to go to build and expand a business. I can't say I know the business at all as I'm not a fan but whatever infringement is occurring by a fan picking up a stream may be symptomatic of UFC overvaluing the worth of the PPV views, that it wasn't otherwise available to the people they're going to sue or a host of other reasons as outlined by Ben Fowlkes in the article Mike links to.

              By the same token pissing off one fan results, particularly in this day and age is as good as pissing off 100. Suing a collection of them, well, that's not just going to piss them off so the multiplier will be much higher.

              If UFC is as dependent on it's PPV feed as I understand it is this plan may just backfire. Big time. Perhaps not immediately but in the long term. It just doesn't add up particularly of they're still making money from the PPV regardless and to this point they haven't said they aren't.

              Particularly when with one had they say they care about their fans and the other hand is signing affidavits that will form the basis of a collection of lawsuits.

              It's just not something I like in terms of risk and reward. I'd rather find out why these fans felt the need to stream.

              But that could just be me. Service oriented in the certainty of greater profit later.

               

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          Karl (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 11:48am

          Re: Re: Re:

          No, that is Mike making a bunch of "supposings" without anything to back it up. Not a single shred of proof there at all.

          I don't know how true this is of UFC fans, but it is absolutely true for music and movie fans, as numerous studies have proven:


          Illegal downloaders spend MORE on music than those who obey the law
          Study finds file-sharers buy ten times more music
          Movie industry buries report proving pirates are great consumers

          That's just a sampling; there's a lot more.

          Would the guy in his example who sometimes buys the card maybe buy more often if the pirated version is not available?

          Possibly. Would he buy less if piracy was not available, because he could watch less fights and thus lost interest, or because he couldn't afford to pay for any fights when he first became a fan, and thus wouldn't have become a fan in the first place? Possibly.

          If you're considering one, you have to consider the other. Since there is not even any way to tell empirically which one is more influential, we have to guess.

          But one thing is undeniable: in general, pirates are better customers than non-pirates, and if you sue them, you're suing the very people who are currently your best customers.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 8:13pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          >No, that is Mike making a bunch of "supposings" without anything to back it up. Not a single shred of proof there at all.

          So what are your "supposings", then?

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 9:57am

      Re:

      ""we sell a scarcity, and when people turn it infinite, it won't be able to be sold"

      If artificial scarcity is the best thing you got going for you then you are in trouble.

       

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      :Lobo Santo (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 10:00am

      Re: All the bathrooms in the world

      If your restaurant had infinite restroom facilities, your example would be apt rather than asinine.

       

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 10:01am

      Re:

      Sigh, not it's nothing like that at all. They're fans of the sport, not of the company. If you have people who are interested in your sport, you can monetize that one way or another. These people are fighting fans.

      But you knew all this already. You're just playing word games because you don't have an actual argument....

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 10:08am

      Re:

      Surely a better solution would be to offer services such that everyone who wants to watch can?
      Flat out shutting down all piracy would lead to people who (as discussed in the article) can't afford the PPV for whatever reason, simply being unable to watch. How is losing a large chunk of their viewership going to improve their business at all?
      These big businesses all seem to think "piracy bad, must stop" - without considering that many pirates are potential, former, or future customers.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 10:55am

        Re: Re:

        It's a big of a strawman, because anyone who follows the UFC knows that pretty much all of the fights from PPV events end up getting shown on Spike or Fox or other channels are one point of another, usually not that long after the event (weeks, sometimes).

        Those who cannot afford (or like me, who don't want to pay $50 for the PPV) can wait like grown ups and enjoy the fights when they get shown for free (supporting them by having the TV on during commercials).

         

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          The Infamous Joe (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 11:17am

          Re: Re: Re:

          .. And if I get up do something else during the commercials, am I "stealing"?

           

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          Rikuo (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 2:33pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "can wait like grown ups "

          I'm a grown up, and the idea of having to conform to someone else's schedule when choosing what content to watch is simply asinine, thank you very much. I have a machine that can play back video, but the guy on the other end is saying "No, you watch it my way. I'm in control".
          Sorry pal, but when I want to watch something, its ME who is in control. I don't have a set work schedule every week - every week my hours are different (although I work more or less the same number of hours). So having the TV schedule in someone else's control is just too much of a headache for me.

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 10:08am

      Re:

      "we sell a scarcity, and when people turn it infinite, it won't be able to be sold"

      This is the dumbest thing I've ever read.

      If something scarce can be turned into something infinite by humans, then it is not scarce.

      You can pretend that it is scarce, but you'd just be lying to yourself.

       

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      Machin Shin (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 10:12am

      Re:

      There is actually a lot of good that can come from this homeless guy analogy of yours. You see you say they are like homeless guy using your restaurant restroom. Well if you let that homeless guy in and make him a friend then odds are good he will later when he has money be a customer.

      On the other hand if you take this homeless guy grab him as he is headed for the rest room and toss him out face first into a mud puddle then what you think he will do? Likely you will start finding him pissing on your building, taking shits side of the restaurant ect. Before long that one bum you attacked will run you out of business.

       

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        PRMan, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 10:48am

        Re: Re:

        Vanguard University had a random guy that would come into the lunchroom for the cheap food. He would get a month-long meal card and eat an all-you-want breakfast, lunch and dinner every day for $1.25 each.

        He had already been run out of many other places for trying to bilk the system, but the school left him alone. He became friends with many of the students and faculty and even helped out with some classes.

        Eventually, when the guy passed away, he left the University $20 million, because they were the only family he ever had.

        http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctliveblog/archives/2009/03/a_good_month_fo.html

         

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      Rikuo (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 2:28pm

      Re:

      "Why would you think that people who take, take, take, and don't give back anything"

      Reading comprehension fail on your part. You ASSUME we don't pay. I download a ton of stuff. I also pay for a ton of stuff. I downloaded Battlestar Galactica on the recommendation of a friend (before, my idea of a good sci-fi show was warp drives and lasers, not rocket propelled craft and bullets). I loved the show so much that I then bought the Blu-ray set.
      This isn't the first time this has happened. There have been dozens of times where I've downloaded and then later on payed. 99% of those times, (pay attention here) the PAYING WOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED WITHOUT THE INITIAL DOWNLOAD. The download acted as free advertisement and garnered a sale.

      Read the article. The UFC plans to sue the fans of its shows. The college student is penniless now, but if sued, he will NOT EVER pay for the show. That is a bridge the UFC is willing to burn. Yes, the student is infringing copyright, but as a business, the UFC has to earn its customers.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 9:49am

    Who said it on this blog:
    Piracy is a service problem. You're not giving people what they want so they pirate.

     

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    Some Guy, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 9:50am

    Here is my take. I don't agree them suing the people watching the streams but that being said, it is their business to do with as they please. The fact is that people are viewing their events in a way that the UFC does not want them to.

    They are passionate about their brand and they want to protect in. In their minds this is the way to do it. When people stream stuff like this against the wishes of the company they are in the wrong. Not the people who want to stop it.

    Is it good for them in the long run because of the negative attention suing their fans bring? Probably not, but that doesn't change the fact that the UFC are not the ones breaking the rules. In the end they are the victims and while you may not have any sympathy for them because of the money they pull doesn't change the fact that they are the wronged party.

     

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      Chris Rhodes (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 9:53am

      Re:

      Whether or not someone is "wronged" by streaming depends entirely on whether or not you accept copyright law as morally valid.

      I'd say the people being threatened are the victims here.

       

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      John Fenderson (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 9:55am

      Re:

      So in other words, you agree with Mike's post.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 9:56am

      Re:

      My take away from this blog is to learn how to not fear piracy and still profit.

      Sure it's their business but this does seem like a perfect topic to discuss how to foster goodwill with the fan base and still make profit.

      I do not condone this behavior but, I rather like watching the UFC and hope that through sound and profitable decisions, are still around years from now. This does not seem like the best course of action.

      I see your point but for the purposes of this blog, I am beginning to think of a larger picture.

       

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      The Infamous Joe (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 9:58am

      Re:

      Here is my take. I don't agree them suing the people watching the streams but that being said, it is their business to do with as they please.

      That's everyone else's take on it too. We all agree they are acting within their rights, but some of us think they're making a big mistake exercising those rights.

       

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        Some Guy, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 11:33am

        Re: Re:

        "That's everyone else's take on it too. We all agree they are acting within their rights, but some of us think they're making a big mistake exercising those rights."

        It goes beyond that though. Not everyone, but there are a lot of people on here who think that what the UFC is doing is morally wrong and that it is morally right or at least acceptable to stream. The thinking seems to be that the UFC is not delivering a product I want to buy so I am going to do whatever I want to get it on my terms.

        Who has their hands dirtier? In my opinion it is the streamers and not the company that is standing up for its legal rights.

        As to whether copyright is moral or not is another discussion. It is the law. I am all for changing laws that don't make sense and agree that copyright is flawed.

        I am also of the opinion that the UFC would be better served by changing their business model as opposed to suing over it but that is how they chose to do business. Until another company comes along with a business model that takes advantage where the UFC doesn't want to and the market decides what it wants, I have no problem with the UFC defending itself how it sees fit.

        No matter how much of a fan of the sport you are doesn't give you the right to take something from a company that doesn't want you to take it and then complain that they are looking for ways to stop you.

         

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          Rikuo (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 5:45pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "No matter how much of a fan of the sport you are doesn't give you the right to take something from a company that doesn't want you to take it and then complain that they are looking for ways to stop you."

          Then the argument boils down to who has control and who should or not have control. The customer gets pissed off when the company makes it more or less impossible to view the content in a way that both monetarily rewards the company and allows the customer to view the content in a manner that suits them.

           

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      Karl (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:14pm

      Re:

      that doesn't change the fact that the UFC are not the ones breaking the rules.

      Yes, they are.

      Viewing streams is not an infringement of copyright. You're not "pirating" anything. You're not breaking the rules.

      On the other hand, if you sue law-abiding people (or, more accurately, threaten them with bogus lawsuits in order to extort settlement money), then you are breaking the rules.

      I almost hope they do this, and that those users file countersuits. The users would clearly win, and the UFC would have to pay not only their own lawyers, but the fans' as well. Might teach them a lesson.

       

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    Vic B (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 9:55am

    UFC puzzles me. I'm an outlier fan who would definitely not pay $50 to watch a live fight but certainly would pay $5-10/month to stream past and recent fights online. But UFC doesn't allow option #2... it's either $50/fight every few months or nothing. So I'm left streaming illegal and bad quality feeds found on the web. Shame really.

     

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      Jay (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 10:02am

      Re:

      Well if you go to a bar, you're also stealing their stream. Nevermind how that helps their bottom line also...

       

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        Dave (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 10:23am

        That analogy doesn't hold

        Ummmm... it helps UFC's bottom line because the bar is BUYING the stream legally and showing it publicly, and bars usually have to shell out a LOT more than home viewers for UFC streams, because they bring in people who don't want to pay $50 a fight but are fine paying $10-15 for beer and wings. How is any sort of "stealing" happening there?

         

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          Jay (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 10:58am

          Re: That analogy doesn't hold

          None. But this is the company that decides that if more than 10 people access a legally paid for broadcast, they're stealing it. And they want to hire people to look for places that are "streaming" the games in bars

          Don't go to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch on a Friday night.

          Don't go TGIFridays to watch on Saturday of the game.

          No, everyone has to watch individually from home and pay $50 for the game.

          That's why they were all too happy that Bryan McCarthy was arrested so long ago along with Yonjou Quiroa. It's ridiculous how entitled they are.

           

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      RyanMc (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 10:20am

      Re:

      I completely agree with you Vic. There is just no way I can justify spending $50 for a PPV event. I could PROBABLY spend $20 on a live PPV event, but that would still be a pill I had trouble swallowing. While I have never been able to find (never really cared to try that hard) a stream for a live event I try to find the ones still on the net a few days later. They also want to charge like $40 to for an old PPV event days/weeks/months after it has taken place (or at least when I was checking that stuff out a few years ago). $10 off of an event is not enough of a discount. It needs to be like $2.00 for me to pay to watch an old event.

      I love the UFC, I love the free live stuff that they do provide, but $50 is WAY too much for a PPV event for me. I'd love to hand over some money to watch an event, just not $50 for one event. $50 for one YEAR, YES! $50 for one EVENT, NO!

       

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        Rikuo (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 2:42pm

        Re: Re:

        I've never PPV'ed myself (I don't even have any kind of cable package, my TV is connected to the computer) but I would never PPV myself. Here's why.
        They are charging me a price to watch a single show, whatever it may be, ONCE, on my TV. I would much rather, for the same price or even higher, pay to be there in person (even though I'm not a fighting fan, for the sake of this, let's assume I am). I would gladly pay for the scarcity of being there in person.
        Where's the scarcity for the TV broadcast? At most, I would do a subscription, like 10 bucks a month to watch all their fights live. Stay a subscribed customer long enough, and you get a discount if you want to be at the actual fight.

        There's a couple of good ideas to increase sales. But no. The UFC would much rather stop people watching their shows at all costs unless they jump through the hoops.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 10:04am

    Told ya.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 10:14am

    Well, in their defense, they're making the world a more clear cut and simple place, because after this stunt "I'll never give any money to these people ever."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 10:24am

    ZERO SYMPATHY

    I have to disagree with the premise. The UFC’s biggest fans are not at all being sued.

    If you are any kind of a “real fan”, you will understand that fighting in the UFC is not something just anyone can do. For the few that can, they pay a heavy price for doing so.

    Broken bones, broken fingers, muscle rips, sprains, and many other injuries, are just some of the pitfalls. A real fan is going to support the fighters and organization by paying the price of admission. Anyone trying sneak past security and trying to get in free is nothing but a little crumb snatcher. Those who choose to jump the gate are not real fans.

    If the fighters have to pay the price of sacrificing their health, then you should do your small part and at least pay the price of admission. Maybe you can make the argument that Dana White and Joe Rogans salary is too high.. Who cares. On one of the PPV’s I bought and watched I saw Frank Mir snap Antonio Rodrigo Nogeria’s arm in half. It looked scary painful!! If Antonio can pay the price of having his arm snapped, then you can pay the price of admission!

    Granted, the UFC may be using less then desirable tactics to catch those who choose to jump the gate. But, I have zero sympathy for the little crumb snatchers.

     

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      Chris Rhodes (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 10:27am

      Re: ZERO SYMPATHY

      Remember, folks:

      1. Read post.
      2. Then comment.

      Otherwise, you'll look silly and illiterate like this guy.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 10:41am

        Re: Re: ZERO SYMPATHY

        Even though Chris Rhodes is a troll swimming in the troll pool at the lowest level pond scum: (Quote):But, even more ridiculous is the response when someone asks about suing fans. Epstein claims that UFC loves its fans, but anyone who infringes is simply not a fan at all. However, that's ridiculous. An article by Ben Fowlkes at MMAFighting.com provides a wonderful explanation for why this is a ridiculous claim:

        In short... Ben Fowlkes, In my opinion, does not even come close to proving anything.

         

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          Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 10:52am

          Re: Re: Re: ZERO SYMPATHY

          I was unaware until just this moment that explaining one's rationale somehow had to result in "proof". I'd say thanks for clearing that up, but that would be stupid since it's so damned idiotic.

          This is REALLY easy to understand if you take your head out of your ass for five seconds. Fans of MMA fighting earn the title of fan by simply ENJOYING THE DAMNED SPECTACLE. You don't have to buy to be a fan, and I'll prove that for you, since that's what you seem to need.

          If I have a buddy who has never seen MMA and I buy a couple of tickets and take him to a fight and he loves the everloving shit out of it....guess what? He's now a fan, despite having never paid MMA a dollar.

          Fans and customers are two separate fucking things, you morons. The idea here is to make sure the highest possible percentage of your fanbase are also your customer base and suing fans is quite possibly the very best method possible for ENSURING THAT DOESN'T HAPPEN.

          Nobody turns simple fucking concepts into complicated wrongness like some of the trolltastic almost-people on this site, I swear to god....

           

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          Doug B (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 10:53am

          Re: Re: Re: ZERO SYMPATHY

          Are you being willfully ignorant, or just trolling?

           

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        Doug B (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 10:58am

        Re: Re: ZERO SYMPATHY

        You need to add a step in between 1 and 2:

        "Do you best to comprehend post"

         

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      A Dan (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:48pm

      Re: ZERO SYMPATHY

       

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      Rikuo (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 2:45pm

      Re: ZERO SYMPATHY

      Uh...you do know this article is talking about watching a live steam of the fight ON THE INTERNET? Not physically sneaking into the arena?
      Plus, definition of fan
      1
      : an enthusiastic devotee (as of a sport or a performing art) usually as a spectator
      2
      : an ardent admirer or enthusiast (as of a celebrity or a pursuit)

      Where does it say you have to fork over cash to be considered a fan?

       

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    Chris Stone, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 10:31am

    What the UFC doesn't understand...

    What the UFC and all companies (RIAA, MPAA, etc.) that sue their fans don't understand is that you are ticking off the fans that can't afford it, you are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars going after these people, and that vast majority of the fans that are engaging in this aren't hurting you any how. My point with that last bit is that the fans that watch the fights in other means wouldn't buy the pay-per-view if those other means didn't exist. They don't have the money! So, how are they hurting the UFC? There may be a small percentage that could or would buy the pay-per-view and are just cheap, but if you sue them, they will never buy a pay-per-view or buy a t-shirt or anything like that again. Yup, UFC loosing money again on a loosing endever.

     

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    Karl (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 11:01am

    Watching streams is not infringement

    I'd just like to point out something.

    In order to infringe on copyright, you need to have infringed on one of the rights in 17 USC 106. If you provide a video stream, you're infringing on the "public performance" right.

    However, if you merely watch a stream, you are not infringing on any of the 106 rights at all. You're not infringing on the public performance right (since you're not "performing" anything), you're not distributing anything, and streams are not "copies" for the purposes of 106(1).

    In other words, watching a stream is not unlawful. Not even if you knew it was pirated; not even if you paid money for it.

    According to the article, Zuffa intends to sue "sue individuals who watched fights for free" (emphasis mine). They're going to have a really hard time of it, since those individuals did nothing wrong.

     

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    Suspicion (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 11:04am

    The industry's current business model needs to be reworked and recent efforts to prevent piracy are draconian at best BUT the argument made by Mr Masnick is fallacious. The real issue is how to effectively address piracy, the Red Herring argument presented (poor college kid so its okay) is irrelevant and a distraction.

     

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 11:14am

      Re:

      Care to explain WHY it's irrelevant and a distraction?

       

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        Suspicion (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 11:39am

        Re: Re:

        Because a person may be a customer is not relevant to how to address piracy. One has nothing to do with the other.
        A) The issue is addressing piracy
        B) The poor kid topic is raised under the guise of being relevant to piracy
        C)The discussion on piracy is abandoned and we are now talking about not alienating potential future customers; that is a marketing discussion not a piracy discussion

         

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          Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:08pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Uh, because one of the ways to "address" piracy might be to profit from it?

          C'mon, that wasn't really that tough, was it?

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:26pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I agree with DH that you cannot simply disassociate the issue of piracy from marketing (Providing the service desired.).
            In my view, the two are relevant to each other in this case.
            Others in this discussion have stated that the media can only be seen via Pay Per View.

            While PPV may be financially effective, providing other mediums may capture other revenue streams (That a 19 year old could likely afford.) and cut down (Does anyone think that you can stop all piracy?) on any perceived piracy occurring.

            And that is why I agree that piracy and marketing/services offered cannot be separated in this discussion.

            Still, as per your other comment, the 19 year old is simply taking advantage of an existing stream and really is not the infringing party.

             

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              Rikuo (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 2:50pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "While PPV may be financially effective, providing other mediums may capture other revenue streams (That a 19 year old could likely afford.)"

              Exactly. The college student won't have $50 to spend on one fight. But, more than likely, he might have 5 or ten bucks for a subscription plan (I don't known if UFC do that, please tell me if they do or do not).
              Suing him simply ensures he will never buy from you at all. The ultimate goal of a business is to attract customers and increase sales. Anyone who suggests an action that runs counter to those principles should be hung, drawn and quartered (metaphorically, of course).

               

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          JMT, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 5:35pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "The issue is addressing piracy"

          If that's your issue, then you won't get far. Every dollar spent trying to "stop piracy" is money down the toilet. You literally cannot recoup it. However every dollar spent providing your customers exactly what they're asking for is money you absolutely can get back with profit.

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 11:17am

      Re:

      I like the tone of your argument.
      While not agreeing with Mike can at times get you a negative reaction, at least you talking points are rational.

      How would you address some one watching a stream already published (By sources if possible ill repute.) and with the mentality of suing potential fans?

      I am interested to see your further comments.

       

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        Suspicion (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:02pm

        Re: Re:

        I believe that once something is purchased, it becomes the property of whomever bought it subject to whatever restrictions the seller placed on that purchase and which the buyer agreed to. Any subsequent use of the purchased item is solely the responsibility of the buyer. So, if the buyer decides to publish it (e.g. streams it on a site) free of charge then anyone should be able to watch it without repercussion. If the original seller has an issue with that - take it up with the person who originally bought the product. Those individuals who later watched the free streaming video did not agree to any restrictions with the original seller - they only watched content under the terms presented by the person making the content available to the: free and unrestricted. In the case of this discussion, the original seller presents a ridiculous argument by tyring to sue the fans (current or future) who watched a video provided by the original buyer. He wants to link the purchase agreement he made with the original buyer to automatically extended to everyone, everywhere. If the original seller has a beef with anyone it is with the original buyer and it should stop there. The future fan did not agree to anything with the seller and it should not be incumbent on the future fan to do the police work of the seller.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:12pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          To paraphrase you:
          The possible 19 year student is only accountable to the persons streaming the video. i.e. Not the UFC. So the 19 year old is largely irrelevant to the legal repercussions.

          The persons steaming the video are accountable to the UFC, due to using their material. They are who should be sued.

          The 19 year old is akin to seeing a television playing something and stopping to watch that material and is not directly contributing to the infringement.

          Bottom line:
          Sue the person making the stream and not the 19 year old student that found the stream. The 19 year old is not the one making the stream.

          Correct?

           

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          Rikuo (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 2:54pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Trolls, take heed. THIS IS HOW you disagree with Mike Masnick and not sound like a complete retard. You read what Mike writes, think for a bit and then spell out why you're in disagreement. Suspicion actually has a great and comprehensive argument for his viewpoint, one I'm willing to get behind (but I won't, for my own reasons). If I could, I'd vote Insightful a 1,000 times on Suspicion's comment.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 3:52pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            His argument is that, while knowing that they are obtaining something for nothing, the people viewing it are somehow not responsible for their actions? Wow.

            The people streaming it for free wouldn't be doing it without an audience.

             

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    Suspicion (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:29pm

    A caveat: if the person who is streaming the video is not doing anything illegal - then the UFC has no recourse whatsoever.

    Hence, the need to develop a different business model.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:32pm

    A TRUE fan is obedient and accepts what is he given.

     

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    Michael, Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 6:29am

    Oh well, just another reason to not support UFC in any way, shape or form. And don't think for a second that the people being sued will be the only ones who turn against them.

    Think about this: Music sales began to slag back when Napster, Audio Galaxy and the like came under fire. Then we heard all those horror stories about people being sued insane amounts of money for downloading songs, plus ASCAP, BMI and SESAC going around extorting from business owners, and so on.

    Enter the present: The major labels have dug a ditch for themselves and cannot claw their way out of it. Consumer confidence has waned directly because of their hostile actions (not to mention lousy music). Treat people like criminals and they'll stop supporting you. You reap what you sow.

     

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    Kyle Reynolds Conway (profile), Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 12:01pm

    I never cared about UFC one way or the other. Now I'll actively avoid them, and tell others to do the same.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2012 @ 8:24am

    I really wish more companies would do what Microsoft did with Office and college users. Publicly say, "No you may not steal our product." But behind the scenes do nothing.

    Microsoft always understood those that steal their product help push their product. Those college users who become acquainted and used to Office only know Office. When they get to the real world workplace they will then use that product because that's what they know, and in turn pay for the product. Same thing with Windows. They get that users will eventually pay if you are patient enough.

     

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    T Lee, Mar 24th, 2012 @ 6:53pm

    UFC setting up free streams on purpose just to catch you

    A while back Greg Jackson from sherdog.com on savagedogshow podcast said that UFC is setting up some of the illegal streams on purpose just to catch you.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2012 @ 2:08am

      Re: UFC setting up free streams on purpose just to catch you

      Not a winning case in the US, but might be useful as a FUD.

       

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    CR (profile), Sep 5th, 2013 @ 11:58am

    Being sued by Zuffa

    So I get this email that says Zuffa is suing me.

    I've been a fan for many years. Ordered just about every pay-per-view through my cable provider.

    I recently had a housefire which cost me my life-savings to try and get back on my feet. Because of the fire I missed a few pay-per-views. A big fight was scheduled that I didn't want to miss so I found it, quite easily I might add, online, streaming, for free and I watched it.

    Now they are asking for $260,000.00.

    Really?

    Not only have they lost a customer but they can sue me till they are blue in the face. I HAVE NOTHING! It all went up in flames.

     

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