The Football Association, Premier League rightsholders BSkyB (NYSE: BSY) and Setanta have used legal threats to have San Francisco-based lifecasting site Justin.tv remove soccer matches its users were streaming “illegally” for free. The trio grumbled (via NOTW) the site – more commonly used by people broadcasting video of their lives to peers – lets users rebroadcast matches like last week’s between Manchester United versus West Ham (supposedly watched 167,138 times) and England’s September World Cup qualifier against Croatia, to which Setanta had exclusive rights.
Premier League rights, which come up for auction again in April 2009, are not cheap: Sky spent £1.3 billion and Setanta £392 million to show live games until 2010 while the BBC shelled out £172 million for its Match Of The Day highlights programmes. The Premiership is already suing YouTube for copyright and in February won the High Court battle to stop three sites, FreePremierLeague.com, FootballOn.net and PremiershipLive.net, from streaming live matches.
But lifecasting presents a tricky new problem – users can pirate a live match simply by pointing their webcam at the TV. During last Sunday