Nearly 1 million viewers for pirated FB Live of Mayweather-McGregor fight
Nearly 1 million viewers for pirated FB Live of Mayweather-McGregor fight
An unauthorized livestream eludes the social network and copyright owners of the fight

MANILA, Philippines – Fight fans the world over tuned in to the big match between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Conor McGregor – nearly a million of them viewing it through a stream on Facebook Live by user Jason English. (READ: Mayweather batters McGregor, wins by TKO in round 10)

English, a native of Louisville, Kentucky in the US according to his profile, livestreamed a television set broadcasting a match that cost $90 to $100 on pay-per-view (PPV). The stream, according to a screenshot posted by English himself, reached 986,000 users – although some commenters claim seeing up to 994,000. 

Given the ease by which people can livestream on Facebook now, it’s likely that English isn’t the only one who was able to show the match on the social network or others with livestreaming capabilities such as YouTube and Instagram.

What’s remarkable with English’s bootlegged stream was that it amassed nearly a million viewers, which means it ran for a significant amount of time, without being taken down by the social network. 

Facebook does have a tool against the unauthorized spread of copyrighted material: Rights Manager. Like YouTube’s Content ID system, content creators or pages can set the tool to automatically look out for unauthorized broadcasts on the platform – both recorded and live – and have them reported and taken down.

With English’s stream hitting nearly a million viewers, it’s either the Facebook tool missed spotting the stream or the copyright owner, Showtime, didn’t set the tool to monitor for streams.

The crucial thing here is that the stream found its audience in spite of a tool to curb it being on hand. If anything, it puts the spotlight on social networks with livestreaming – how can they improve protection of copyrighted material? 

Pirated streams have already been around for a long time, way before Facebook Live went live. Often, during a big event, say the NBA Finals, it takes just a Google search to find streams hosted on different sites.

Now with social media streaming, it’s only become easier to host pirated livestreams as every user can host with the tap of a button, and every viewer can natively share a stream – as opposed to setting up a dedicated site for hosting streams. – 

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