The highly anticipated Mayweather / Pacquiao fight later this week is destined to become the most pirated live sports event in history.
Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of fans, will tune into various pirated streams to avoid paying for the “fight of the century.”
This prospect has many rightsholders worried. Sports streaming sites can expect an avalanche of takedown notices as soon as the broadcast starts, but TV outfit ABS-CBN is also taking a more proactive stance.
The company filed a complaint with the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) which led to the arrest of Jonathan Dela Cruz, an IT professor at a local university.
The professor, described as one of the most wanted movie and TV pirates, is the alleged operator of pinoy-tv-replay.com.
In addition to triggering the local investigation, ABS-CBN filed a lawsuit at a federal court in the United States (pdf). In the complaint the company mentions various trademark and copyright infringements as well as Dela Cruz’s plan to stream the Mayweather / Pacquiao fight.
“Defendant Dela Cruz’s pinoy-tv-replay.com website also promises to offer a live stream channel of the upcoming Floyd Mayweather v. Manny Pacquiao boxing match, which will be offered by ABS-CBN and other legitimate entertainment companies through various platforms,” ABS-CBN writes.
The TV company added a screencap of the advertisement for the unofficial broadcast which Dela Cruz allegedly used to lure in visitors.
To stop any further infringements ABS-CBN asked the Florida court for a temporary restraining order, which was granted a few days ago.
Dela Cruz is now forbidden from operating any site that infringes ABS-CBN’s rights and the TV-company also gets control over his domain name. In addition, the professor faces millions of dollars in damages.
At the time of writing pinoy-tv-replay.com is not responding, although a cached version is still available through CloudFlare’s “Always Online” service.
ABS-CBN’s Elisha Lawrence is happy that the “pirate” has been taken off the streets and encourages the public to avoid sketchy websites that offer free streams.
“We are enforcing against these sites to protect our viewers. But in the meantime as we go after each and every one of these sites, protect yourself and your family and stay away from free sites and free streaming sites. Don’t pay the high price for free,” Lawrence said.