Plenty of sports fans rely on illegal online streams to tune into games and events, but if you’ve harnessed that particular approach to watch the NFL, NBA, or UFC, you could be in for a headache now that they’ve set their sights on the practice.
You usually don’t need to look too hard to find an unsanctioned link that allows you to get your fix if you don’t have cable, discover you’re blacked out of a broadcast, or would prefer to avoid spending money on a streaming subscription or PPV.
Of course, there are plenty of people who are willing to spend money to access those sporting events, and you don’t need to be a genius to understand why the companies that rely on high ratings to rake in massive amounts of dough are less than thrilled with people who turn to sketchy websites that don’t require them to pay a dime.
As things currently stand, leagues and organizations that hold the copyright have the power to go after the people who distribute their events illegally. With that said, they can face some hurdles when it comes to taking down illegal streams in a timely manner and attempting to scrub them entirely has a tendency to turn into a game of Whac-A-Mole.
According to The Verge, the NFL, NBA, and UFC are now angling to streamline that process, as the trio recently penned a joint letter to the US Patent and Trademark Office in the hope of tweaking the current language of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the statue that allows them to go after people streaming their offerings illegally.
The primary sticking point is language that currently states anyone who receives a DMCA takedown notice must act “expeditiously” to address the complaint, which leaves a bit of room for interpretation. However, the same can’t really be said for “instantaneously or near-instantaneously,” which is the phrase those organizations want the USPTO to adopt to give them more leverage going forward.
At the end of the day, you can’t really blame them for wanting to crack down on behavior that is unethical at best and illegal at worst, but I’m sure that won’t stop plenty of people from complaining.