UFC Claims Copyright On Video Of The Crowd At Its Events?

from the that-doesn't-seem-right dept

Rob points us to news about a fight that broke out in the audience at a UFC event in Toronto recently. Of course, we couldn't care less about the fight itself, but what's interesting is that the video of the fight in the audience has been taken down, due to a copyright claim from UFC:
At least for the time being, you can still see the video elsewhere, and I can't see how UFC has any sort of reasonable copyright claim on it. Whoever took the video may have a copyright claim, but UFC? Perhaps it can make a weak argument that some of the audio in the background is UFC's? But even then it seems like the claim is a huge stretch. Perhaps UFC thinks it automatically gets the copyright on anyone fighting on the premises? Once again, this seems like a case of copyright being used to censor content someone doesn't want people to see/hear/read, rather than a legitimate use of copyright.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 4th, 2011 @ 3:31pm

    Was is shot by the UFC video people or some random crowd member?

    Seems bogus, unless they have some ridiculously broad language on the back of tickets saying purchasers assign all rights in photos/videos taken at the event.

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

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 4th, 2011 @ 4:02pm

    Considering the hellish time they had getting into the Ontario market, they probably are trying to downplay any negative stories.

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

  3. icon
    Not That Chris (profile), May 4th, 2011 @ 4:30pm

    Fight at UFC 91

    The other interesting thing to note is that there appears to have been another fight at UFC 91 a few years ago that's still readily available on YouTube. It seems to not be quite as nasty as the one at 129, but you can see the ring for a couple of seconds. But still, these videos have obviously been on YouTube for years now, so why the sudden change of heart on the most recent?

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

  4. identicon
    StrongStyle81, May 4th, 2011 @ 4:44pm

    UFC was probably just upset that fan fight was more entertaining to watch than GSP vs Shields was. Other than that the ppv was fantastic. The highlight being Machida retiring Couture with the frigging Crane Kick from Karate Kid. The best part is, evidently Steven Segal told him to do it.

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

  5. icon
    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), May 4th, 2011 @ 5:19pm

    Who you calling "we," Mike?

    I'm very interested in the outcome of the "Fight Away from the Fight," which will probably go down as one of the all-time great crowd fights.

    Like "Zowitzki v. Nelson" during the Hagler-Hearns rematch, in which Nelson suckerpunched Zowitzki for "eyeballing" his girlfriend. Ralph "The Mouth" Zowitzki responded with something unprintable (mainly because it was unintelligible) before wrapping up Nelson in a very-ironic full nelson and pinning him to the very sticky floor.

    At this point someone threw up, but various reports fail to say who. Possibly Nelson's girlfriend, who was on her 5th and 7th Quaalude. Witnesses reported last seeing her "listing badly to starboard" before sinking entirely out of sight somewhere between the 3rd and 5th rows.

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

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 4th, 2011 @ 5:33pm

    UFC was almost banned for being ultra violent then rules changed and now UFC tries to brand UFC as a healthy sport, non violent.

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

  7. identicon
    AWA, May 4th, 2011 @ 7:10pm

    Perhaps It's a Contract Issue

    I'm not sure if there are any terms applied by UFC on tickets to their events. But, if so, they could perhaps try to make a contract-based argument. Perhaps something like this: "as part of the terms of your buying a ticket and attending the event, you agree to forego recording anything happening in the venue and, should you decide to record anyway, you automatically assign the copyrights in all such recordings to UFC." I'm just supposing here...

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

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 4th, 2011 @ 7:40pm

    I don't call 3 on 1 a fight.

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

  9. icon
    harbingerofdoom (profile), May 4th, 2011 @ 7:45pm


    not found or access denied.

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

  10. icon
    Jay (profile), May 4th, 2011 @ 8:20pm

    Re: Re:

    It's a cache, click on switch the player and it will play.

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

  11. identicon
    teka, May 4th, 2011 @ 9:48pm

    everyone with the "maybe there was language on the back of the ticket.." defense that woulc allow UFC to claim ownership, back off that a little bit.

    Just sticking some text on the back of something i hand you does not suddenly create a legal contract, else i could just as easily claim that "by reading, posting or otherwise attending a thread here on techdirt, hearafter known as "techdirt", you are required to send 10% of your weekly earnings to me"

    Venue owners and event creators just stick that stuff on there to cow you into following it. I have seen the same thing with security guards at galleries claiming "you have to delete that image from your camera or you will be arrested"

    this is not to say that you could not be Ejected from an event for failing to listen to a guard/etc, but that is a different matter altogether

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

  12. icon
    G Thompson (profile), May 4th, 2011 @ 9:52pm


    Which would even then due to case law regarding tickets, contracts, and articles of sale be voidable

    And unless the person who had filmed the crowd was under an employee relationship (again highly unlikely) only THEY have ability to decide who can breach THEIR copyright.

    Also if UFC try to state that it was THEIR crowd even that has no standing since it was full of humans, is absolutely not a static medium and can in no way be held as a copyrightable medium owned by a corporation.

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

  13. icon
    Chosen Reject (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 5:44am

    I'm fairly certain that without the incentive of copyrights, the filmer would have not bothered creating this video. I just thank my lucky stars that we have promoted the progress here and given this amateur director an incentive to create.

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

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 6:29am


    Parent is correct. Occasionally other sporting leagues, including MLB, have attempted to enforce such claims. I'm not aware of any such claims being enforced by a court - usually it doesn't go that far.

    Of course, your license doesn't actually have to be enforceable to provide a plausible basis for a DMCA takedown claim.

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

  15. icon
    Sean T Henry (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 6:57am

    Re: Re:

    It seems like UFC is making a bad mistake here. If they claim that they control the copyright over a fight that took place in the crowd and was filmed by someone in the crowd. Then it would be reasonable that they were endorsing an unsanctioned UFC fight at the event since they control everything going on in the arena.

    This could possibly make it easier to open UFC to liability for any injuries caused at the event. The reason for this is because they treat the fight in the crowd just like they would if it was a sanctioned UFC fight but did not have signed wavers for the two crowd fighters.

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

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 10:08am

    Re: Re:

    I'm not sure what you're referring to regarding voidable contracts.

    The cameramen at the UFC event don't necessarily have to be employees for UFC to have a claim. I'd be shocked if they didn't have an agreement assigning whatever rights they may have to UFC.

    As for a copyrightable medium, it's not the humans that's the medium; it's the videotape (or hard drive, or whatever they're recording on).

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

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 10:18am


    It may not always create a binding agreement; but it doesn't always *fail* to create a binding agreement.

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

  18. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 10:10pm

    Mike, seriously never divert traffic to Ebaums World. The webmaster there is made of scum and must never get money out of the internet any more than he has already.

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

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