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Current as of 28/09/16 07:39PM NZST

Big-fight showdown: Sky v streamers

By Ben Hill, Morgan Tait, Martin Johnston

New Zealand Heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker v French Cameroon boxer Carlos Takam. Photo / Photosport
New Zealand Heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker v French Cameroon boxer Carlos Takam. Photo / Photosport

Fight fans are squaring up for a showdown with Sky TV and boxing promoters Duco over illegal streaming of Joseph Parker's big weekend win.

Kiwis took the country's next great boxing hope to their hearts on Saturday night, as he slugged out a unanimous-decision victory over tough veteran Carlos Takam to set up a world-title shot next year.

But Duco boss Dean Lonergan yesterday threatened to sue the "complete lowlifes" who watched illegal live-streams of the heavyweight clash, prompting an outpouring of defiance online and complaints that Sky's $50 pay-per-view price for the fight was far too high. A live stream posted on Facebook by "A Day in the life of #BeastMoze" was viewed more than 100,000 times.

Mr Lonergan told the Herald last night that he stood by his claims.

"My company broadcasts live sporting events around the world ... so people might owe us a huge amount of money and I'm looking forward to getting some of that."

But he wanted the focus to stay on Parker: "What he did was nothing short of magnificent."

He did not yet have the figures on the number of people who paid to watch the clash on Sky.

Earlier, he said he would look for those who had live-streamed the fight, and also wanted to see if Facebook had any liability.

"There will be two choices when we find out who they are: we'll send them an invoice for tens of thousands of dollars and they can pay that, or they'll find themselves in court."

A Sky spokeswoman said the firm also planned to take action against those who live-streamed the fight.

"It's a form of theft, and we're always watching people who are trying to steal our content.

"It is something we can track. We are actively investigating piracy."

Duco boss Dean Lonergan yesterday threatened to sue the "complete lowlifes" who watched illegal live-streams of the heavyweight clash. Photo / Doug Sherring
Duco boss Dean Lonergan yesterday threatened to sue the "complete lowlifes" who watched illegal live-streams of the heavyweight clash. Photo / Doug Sherring

James Bryant posted a stream of the event on Facebook and wasn't worried by the threats by Duco and Sky. He thought the pay-per-view price was "ridiculous".

"I challenge Mr Lonergan to try to sue me - like anything that goes before court, evidence must be obtained. It will be impossible to prove who has been streaming it."

Internet piracy law expert Rick Shera said people who live-streamed were easy legal targets. "It's a pretty blatant, obvious copyright breach. The breach is in copying it from the TV screen and then as a separate breach in communicating it again."

Mr Shera said the losses suffered by the copyright holder would be the basis of any damages claim and this could be 100,000 times $49.99 - nearly $5 million.

But it was unclear what level of proof of loss was required.

"Had it not been for the infringement, would 100,000 people have paid $50 to view it? The answer is probably no. The court would hear evidence on what the likely viewership would there have been and how would that have played out."

Another lawyer, Kevin Glover, said people who paid $50 to view the fight, recorded it but did not distribute it were unlikely to face any legal action.

NZ First leader Winston Peters, who attended the fight, has previously called for sporting events of national significance to be free to air, but in this case he said those who took part in live-streaming were "cheating the organisers".

The stoush comes as Sky faces a battle for rights to sport content and fights for streaming dollars with cheaper internet TV services such as Lightbox, Netflix and Australian/Kiwi company Quickflix. Sky last year launched Neon. TVNZ and TV3 have free streaming services.

• Comments in this story from Sir Bob Jones where actually made by Sir Bob Parker. They have since been removed. The Herald apologises for the error.

- NZ Herald

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