While Anthony Mundine and Danny Green were battling it out in their pay-per-view fight, Foxtel’s Main Event channel had another fight on their hands trying to stop subscribers streaming the event on Facebook Live.
Reports suggest more than 200,000 people watched the fight for free thanks to subscribers who paid $59.95 for the fight streaming their TV screen with their smartphone on Facebook Live – and costing Foxtel millions of dollars.
Tech Guide was aware of about 10 Facebook Live streams of the fight where users had aimed their phones at the screen to allow others to watch it on Facebook for free.
And Foxtel was on the phone to subscribers who were streaming the fight and threatening legal action for copyright infringement.
One stream supplied by Darren Sharpe attracted more than 112,000 viewers at one point – and a phone call from Foxtel during the event’s undercard in the middle of Quade Cooper’s bout.
Sharpe shot a video of his conversation with Foxtel and posted it to YouTube.
Here is the conversation:
Sharpe: “So you want me to turn off the Foxtel because I can’t stream it?”
Foxtel: No, I want you to stop streaming it on Facebook. Keep watching the fight at home, there’s no dramas at all, just don’t stream it on Facebook.”
Sharpe: “Mate, I’ve got 78,000 viewers here, they’re not going to be happy with you. I don’t see why it’s legal. I’m not doing anything wrong mate, what can you do to me.”
Foxtel: “It’s a criminal offense with the Copyright Act. We’ve got technical protection measures inside the box so exactly this thing can’t happen.”
Foxtel: “It’s against the Copyright Act of Australia, mate.”
Sharpe: “Unbelievable mate. How did you get my number anyway?”
Foxtel: “You used to have an account with Foxtel.”
Sharpe: “You’ve got my partner’s number mate.
Foxtel: “Yeah, she used to have an account with Foxtel as well.
Sharpe: “I’ll see what happens mate.”
Foxtel: “Can you please stop streaming.”
Sharpe: “I don’t think I can stop streaming. I think I have the right to do it. I paid for it.
Foxtel: “Which account did you pay for it with? Whose account is it?
Sharpe: “My account mate.
Foxtel: “And what name is the account under?”
Sharpe: “My name.”
Foxtel: “Are you sure”
Sharpe: “A hundred per cent it’s in my name.”
Foxtel: “It’s in the name Darren Sharpe?”
Sharpe: “That’s right.”
Foxtel: “Do you know your account number?”
Sharpe: “No mate, I don’t. Not of the top of my head.”
Foxtel: “Yeah, I don’t have an account for you.”
Sharpe: “That’s unfortunate isn’t it mate? Good fights are about to start and guys want to watch it, you know. People all over the world are watching this, you know. 90,000 people right now mate. You’re the bearer of bad news.
Foxtel: “Mate you just need to turn it off. I put a message out on the account before that it’s only for Foxtel subscribers.
Sharpe: “We’ve got 91,000 viewers watching it without sound. It’s unbelievable, I don’t think you can do this, mate.”
Foxtel: “I can do it.”
Sharpe: “Do I get a refund?”
Foxtel: “You can watch it yourself mate.”
Sharpe: “What about the rest of the world?”
Foxtel: “You’ve only got the residential package, it’s only for you at home by yourself in your own residence, not for anyone else.”
Sharpe: “Right, I’m just going to whack the sound back on for my viewers and we’ll have a chat.”
The Foxtel representative mentioned there were “technical measures” inside the box to prevent subscribers sharing the feed but obviously no protection in place for a viewer to simply film the screen and stream it on Facebook Live.
Today Sharpe, identified through his Facebook account as a mechanic living in Brisbane, was basking in his notoriety.
There have been several memes and other tributes to Sharpe for his generosity in sharing the stream.
A GoFundMe page has even been set up in case he gets sued by Foxtel. By midday there was more $700 of the $10,000 target.
The hash #prayfordarren was also trending.
Sharpe has also been providing a running commentary on his Facebook page about the aftermath of his clash with Foxtel including being interviewed by a TV news crew.
He also thanked everyone for the messages but said he could get through them – there were more than 3,000.
What do you think?
Was Darren Sharpe entitled to share the stream that he paid for on Facebook Live?