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The UFC thinks prison time for pirates would KO piracy.  (Source: Sherdog.com)
"When people start going to jail, people will stop doing it." -- UFC President Dana White on piracy

Zuffa LLC, owned by brothers Lorenzo Fertitta and Frank Fertitta III, is the world's largest provider of pay-per-view content today.  The company owns and operates the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the world's top professional mixed martial arts organization.

The UFC has been among several pay-per-view providers to crack down hard on internet video uploads in recent years.  With fights finding their way onto YouTube and other video sharing sites, the UFC has tried a variety of approaches to cut off the flow of its performances onto the internet.

On Monday, the UFC announced that it has subpoenaed Justin.tv and Ustream.tv -- two major live video stream sites.  The UFC's owners claim that the sites' users purchased pay-per-view buys and then rebroadcast them on the web for all to see.

According the UFC a single IP address uploaded streams from UFC 108 and UFC 110, held this year.  These streams respectively drew 36,000 and 78,000 non-paying viewers.

Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, content owners can use subpoenas to force service providers to reveal the identities of individuals who upload infringed content.  The UFC already announced reaching "confidential settlements" with 500 people and businesses for illegal broadcasts and viewing.

UFC President Dana White states, "I can't wait to go after the thieves that are stealing our content.  This is a fight we will not lose."

He hopes that the U.S. Congress adopts the most sweeping provisions of upcoming ACTA pact, which could send those uploading copyrighted materials to prison.  He states, "When people start going to jail, people will stop doing it."

The UFC is a popular piracy target due to the high cost of its PPV buys.  The company airs approximately twelve PPV events annually and sells them for $44.95 each, or $55.95 for an HD version.  In 2009 the UFC is estimated to have sucked in $350M USD in PPV revenue.  However, at January's UFC 106, alone, it estimates that there were 140,000 non-paying viewers of 271 illegal streams, amounting to approximately $6.3M USD in lost revenue.

One driving force behind the UFC's piracy crackdown is also growing competition from smaller competitive leagues like Strikeforce.  Strikeforce has put on a number of recent highly successful events including a recent shocking upset of Russian MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko by Brazil's Fabricio Werdum and a massive knockout by female bantamweight champ, Canada's Sarah Kauffman, over Roxanne Modafferi.  Unlike the UFC, Strikeforce generally televises its main card on cable television thanks to deals with CBS, Showtime, and others.



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By stm1185 on 7/27/2010 12:40:43 PM , Rating: 3
At $45 a PPV, the UFC is probably pricing out many fans or potential fans. Who is going to spend $45 to see a UFC fight for the first time? The free streams are creating more UFC fans, the UFC just needs to find a way to monetize them properly.

If I was in charge I would not be engaging in expensive anti file sharing lawsuits that could be a PR nightmare. I would be competing with the free streams for those viewers. I would create a free low quality ad-supported stream online. With the option to increase the stream quality for a fee and remove the ads. Then have also a monthly payment system to the site which would remove ads, increase quality on live events, but also give access to hd quality on demand streams of the previous fights, with highlights and commentary.

The UFC can effectively fight streaming by streaming, and making money off advertising on the site and low monthly payments, instead of spending money on lawyers and publicists to deal with extorting their lower middle class fans who watch it online.




By limitedaccess on 7/27/2010 4:30:19 PM , Rating: 2
They can't do this due to how they are tied in with PPV. Because PPV is still the main form of distribution for this type of service, they have to comply with certain concessions to the PPV providers. The PPV do not want them to undercut their own buys, so while the UFC offers streaming they have to offer it at the same price. The PPV provider also generally takes a large cut of each buy as well (50%), so the UFC themselves do not make the full amount of each buy.


By jthistle on 7/27/2010 5:23:54 PM , Rating: 2
Thats what the UFC specials on Spike are for. If you don't want to pay for PPV just watch Spike.


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