Sky Television and Duco Events have filed court proceedings against eight individuals who illegally live-streamed Joseph Parker's last fight and have promised to "up the ante" should others ignore their hard line.
The eight people, all based in New Zealand, face nominal fines of $2670 each for breach of copyright for the streaming of Kiwi heavyweight Parker's victory over Australian Solomon Haumono in Christchurch in July. The pay TV company and Parker's promoters have also contacted Facebook, the platform on which many illegally streamed the fight, and have been encouraged by the response of the United States media giant.
Parker will tonight face one of the biggest tests in his career when he gets into the ring against giant Ukraine Alexander Dimitrenko at Manukau's Vodafone Events Centre. As he does, Sky and Duco will be watching closely whether people ignore their warning and attempt to illegally live-stream the pay-per-view fight.
"We're not going to sit by and watch people steal our stuff," Duco chief executive Martin Snedden said. "I've heard lots of discussion about 'are we charging too much', and I think that's a complete red herring. The fact is if we charge too much, don't buy it. It doesn't give you the right to steal it and that's what these people are doing and they are facilitating other people to steal it.
"We have absolutely no compunction about starting these proceedings and sending a very clear signal to those considering this activity tomorrow night and for future Parker fights. We're going to chase hard.
"We've got a team now that's concentrating on this. Sky have got a team too. We're working hand in hand, so we'll be on the lookout again tomorrow night. I think finally we've caught the attention of Facebook in New York. I think we'll get a bit more support from that direction.
"I guess what we're trying to do is put a line in the sand and say enough's enough."
Neither Snedden nor Sky chief executive John Fellet were prepared to say how they tracked down the perpetrators or the detail of the response from Facebook.
Porirua man Moze Galo was said to have attracted more than 20,000 illegal views of Parker's victory over Carlos Takam in Manukau in May. That fight package was priced at $49.95 - tonight's costs $39.95 and is also available on Sky's Fanpass platform.
Fellet said one of those worst affected by the illegal live-streaming was 24-year-old Parker.
"A lot of the tips we got were from people ringing us up telling us this was going on," Fellet said.
"The majority of the people out there think, 'Parker is stepping into the ring, he's the one getting his head hit, and these guys are freeloading on it, or helping other people freeload in some cases, and that's not on'. They certainly didn't do it to help me. I think there's a sentiment that Parker is taking all the pain here, he should get the gain as well."
Snedden said: "We haven't taken a punitive approach to how much we're claiming in the court proceedings this time around, we're just making the point. If people ignore this warning we'll up the ante next time around and put a lot more attention into claiming damages."