Ustream Hands Over Users’ IP Addresses to UFC

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Ustream has given the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) the IP addresses of users broadcasting the mixed martial arts league’s pay-per-view events through the live streaming site, it confirmed in an email. The news comes a week after UFC parent company Zuffa LLC subpoenaed both Ustream and Justin.tv to reveal the identities of users infringing on its rights through unauthorized live streams.

Ustream told us today that it responded to these demands as soon as it was contacted by Zuffa. Ustream’s statement reads, in part:

“Ustream was subpoenaed by UFC via Zuffa earlier this year to provide identifiable information on certain broadcasters, which Ustream fully complied with in a timely manner. Ustream continues to work cohesively with our premium content partners to prevent piracy, including UFC to legally stream officially-sanctioned UFC events.”

Ustream also said that it recently updated its copyright protection tools to expedite takedowns.

Zuffa had previously said that a pay-per-view event in February was viewed by more than 78,000 non-paying users on a live streaming site. That particular event was broadcast by the same user who had streamed a match to more than 36,000 people a few months earlier. Zuffa has said that it intends to go after these users with individual lawsuits.

Live streaming piracy has been a point of contention between sports leagues and live streaming operators, and the House Judiciary Committee even held a hearing on the matter late last year. Zuffa CEO Lorenzo Fertitta testified back then that his company was “potentially losing tens of millions of dollars” due to live streaming piracy.

Justin.tv didn’t reply in time for comment on this story or its handling of the UFC subpoena. We’ll update as soon as we hear back from them.

Picture courtesy of Flickr user ESPN In The Clinch.

Related content on GigaOm Pro: Live Event Coverage: Video Rights Roundtable (subscription required)

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