The UFC is using its status as the industry leader in pay-per-view television to also become the leader in cracking down on companies that allow people to watch pay-per-view events online, without paying.
Zuffa, the UFC's parent company, announced Friday that it filed a lawsuit against Justin.tv, for what it calls "Justin.tv's repeated and ongoing failure to meaningfully address the rampant and illegal uploading of video of live Pay-Per-View UFC events by members and users of the Justin.tv website.
Justin.tv (which did not immediately respond to a request for comment) calls itself "the easiest way to create live video and show anyone in the world
." The site says that it respects copyright law and bans users who violate it
In 2009 UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta and Justin.tv CEO Michael Seibel appeared together at a House Judiciary Committee hearing
on illegal streaming of copyrighted television content. At that hearing Fertitta said he appreciated the steps Justin.tv had taken to stamp out copyright infringement, but he said he thought more could be done. In July of 2010 the UFC served a subpoena on Justin.tv
to get the names of users who provided streams of UFC broadcasts.
In its announcement of the lawsuit, the UFC said that "the Justin.tv website is routinely exploited by users to broadcast illegally uploaded content, including UFC events." The UFC said more than 50,000 people watched live feeds of the UFC 121 and that the UFC hired contractors to get more than 200 UFC 121 live streams removed from Justin.tv.
"Zuffa has attempted to work on numerous occasions with Justin.tv over nearly a two-year period to encourage it to prevent or limit its infringing activities," UFC lawyer Donald J. Campbell said. "Regrettably, Justin.tv has not only turned a blind eye to the massive online piracy occurring on its website, we believe it has actually induced its users to commit copyright infringement thus leaving Zuffa no alternative but to take this fight to the courts."