Foxtel takes action over Facebook Live streaming of PPV fight

Australian pay-television operator Foxtel has said it will take action against at least two social media users who used the Facebook Live service to stream its pay-per-view coverage of the boxing match between Danny Green and Anthony Mundine on Friday.

Green’s points win at the Adelaide Oval was part of a PPV package costing A$59.95 (€42/$45) and was live streamed by Facebook users Darren Sharpe and Brett Hevers, attracting hundreds of thousands of viewers.

Foxtel has now said it will “take appropriate action” to protect its copyright. A Foxtel spokesman told the website: “The incident with Facebook last weekend is not just theft. It is a threat to the future viability of live events such as boxing and to the sustainability of the content industry generally.

“The instigators of the illegal streams on Facebook were made aware that any online streaming of the event was not permitted and one has gone so far as to create a fundraising page in anticipation of his legal costs.”

Sharpe’s live stream included a phone call he received from a Foxtel representative advising him to stop illegally broadcasting the fight. The Foxtel representative could be heard saying: “I want you to stop streaming it on Facebook. Just keep watching the fight at home, there’s no dramas with that. Just don’t stream it on Facebook.”

Sharpe responded by stating he didn’t believe he was doing anything wrong. The Foxtel rep added: “It’s a criminal offence against the Copyright Act, mate. We’ve got technical protection methods inside the box so exactly this sort of thing can’t happen.”

Facebook launched its Rights Manager tool last year to help protect copyrighted videos and music from being broadcast illegally. “We check every Facebook Live video stream against files in the Rights Manager reference library, and if a match surfaces, we'll interrupt that live video,” a Facebook spokesman told the AAP news agency.

It is unclear whether Foxtel subscribes to the service.