Online video has always been a tricky issue for services offering hosting and sharing because the companies providing the services have little control over what their users share. It took YouTube years to get some effective anti-piracy tools and the problem still isn't completely gone. The same problem now plagues live streaming services like Ustream or Justin.TV. In fact, Ustream is now getting sued by Square Ring, a boxing promotional company, as TechCrunch reports
, for allowing one user to stream a pay-per-view boxing match.
Square Ring, the property of professional boxer Roy Jones, Jr., claims that it sent a letter to Ustream, following the illegal broadcast looking to settle the matter outside of court. “Plaintiff’s letter further advised Defendants that, to Plaintiff’s knowledge, they permitted approximately 2,377 users to view Plaintiff’s pay-per-view program completely free of charge, in violation of Plaintiff’s rights. To date, Defendants have neither complied with Plaintiff’s request nor responded to Plaintiff’s letter,” the lawsuit filing reads
In the suit, the boxing promotional company also claims it contacted Ustream prior to the event to help prevent the streaming either with a “takedown tool” or by actively monitoring the streams for the broadcast. Ustream apparently didn't cooperate, prompting the company to file a suit.
Ustream has responded to the lawsuit saying that it takes copyright issues very seriously and has several programs set up to prevent infringement. However, in this particular case, it believes the suit to be without merit as the company is protected under Digital Millennium Copyright Act Safe Harbor provisions.
Piracy is an even bigger issue for live streaming services as these have to be monitored on the fly for infringing content. However, because of the sheer number of streams, this is a greater technical undertaking than just removing stored videos. Competitor Justin.TV has recently
set up one such protection system just for the saved videos for now but it is moving to introduce it to all live streams later this year. The video site has also signed a partnership with Fox, providing it with a safeguard against litigation if this type of incidents happen despite its best efforts.