Foxtel has confirmed the two men who provided illegal web streams of last weekends Anthony Mundine Vs Danny Green boxing event will escape legal action after the two men issued formal apologies via social media yesterday.
Darren Sharpe and Brett Hevers were facing the potential of $60,000 fines or five years in jail after they used Facebook Live to provide public streams of the event.
However Foxtel has now opted to drop the legal action after the two men agreed to issue public apologies and speak out against piracy. Any legal action from Foxtel could have easily turned into a publicity disaster for the company.
Foxtel has also confirmed it will not launch legal action against Facebook for failing to quickly shut down the illegal streams, a spokesperson for Foxtel telling DeciderTV the company would instead hold discussions with Facebook "to ensure this sort of incident doesn't happen again."
Darren Sharpe wrote on his Facebook profile:
“Last Friday I streamed Foxtel’s broadcast of Mundine v Green 2 fight via my Facebook page to thousands of people. I know that this was illegal and the wrong thing to do,”
“Foxtel and the event promoters invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce the fight and to broadcast it. I unreservedly apologise to Anthony Mundine and Danny Green, to the boxing community, to Foxtel, to the event promoters and to everyone out there who did the right thing and paid to view the fight. It was wrong and I apologise.”
Brett Hevers published a similar message stating:
“I unreservedly apologise to Anthony Mundine and Danny Green, to the boxing community, to Foxtel, to the event promoters and to everyone out there who did the right thing and paid to view the fight. It was piracy, and I’m sorry,”
It is believed as many as 300,000 viewers accessed the fight via the illegal Facebook Live streams.
Foxtel charged $59 per residential set-top box to access the fight, while Pubs and Clubs had to spend considerably more to display the fight for their customers.
A spokesperson for Foxtel told News Corp:
“Rather than immediately taking legal action, as a first step we want to take the opportunity to educate both of them about the significant harm such actions bring to the production of local Australian content, including live sports,”
“We have given the individuals the opportunity to formally apologise via a public social media post, acknowledging the gravity of the situation, in the hopes that more people will learn that copyright theft is not a victimless crime and something that should be taken very seriously.”
“Illegal streaming and file sharing of any kind impacts not only the viability of the entire content industry, but also the thousands of people employed by it, including athletes, actors, technicians, editors, caterers, set designers and more, who depend on copyright laws being respected in order to protect their livelihood,” he said.
“In addition, if revenue opportunities are undermined sports fans will suffer as sports presenters and promoters will have difficulty affording the costs of staging these fights and other events.”