The NFL, NBA, and UFC have sent a joint letter to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) asking the government to act against illegal streaming operations.
The sports organizations want to update the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to let online service providers (OSPs) act more quickly to take down illegal streams, as current standards often don’t result in takedowns until after the event is completed. The DMCA was signed into law in 1998 by the Clinton administration before widespread live streaming existed on the internet.
“Unfortunately, UFC, NBAP and NFLP’s shared experience is that many OSPs frequently take hours or even days to remove content in response to takedown notices—thus allowing infringing live content to remain online during the most anticipated moments, or even the entirety, of a UFC event or an NBA or NFL game,” reads their August 23 letter seen by Torrent Freak.
Media rights are the most valuable asset to major sports leagues, with the letter stating that the global sports industry is “losing up to $28 billion in additional potential annual revenue” from sports fans who pirate streams instead of being paid users. The NFL’s inclusion in the letter comes as it begins its second season streaming Thursday Night Football exclusively on Amazon Prime Video and its first streaming NFL Sunday Ticket on Google’s YouTube TV.
The DMCA states that online service providers should move “expeditiously” to process takedown notices. The sports organizations want this language changed to “instantaneously or near-instantaneously” to expect quicker takedown action.
“It should be no surprise that the notice-and-takedown regime established by the DMCA, which was enacted before widespread internet-based live streaming became available, is not well-suited to address the present-day particular piracy issues surrounding the infringement of live content,” reads the letter.