Just days before the big fight, the premium cablers are getting in the legal ring to TKO piracy of Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr’s highly anticipated and lucrative matchup. HBO and Showtime today jointly filed a copyright infringement compliant against boxinghd.net, sportship.org and a number of John Does for offering free streaming of the PPV May 2 boxing extravaganza.
In addition to unspecified damages, the cablers, along with fellow plaintiffs Mayweather Promotions LLC and promoters Top Rank Inc., want a triple punch of “a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction and permanent injunction” shutting down the sites directly and on Internet servers for the duration of the fight, at the very least. Granted, it’s an aggressive preemptive approach. However, teaming up for the PPV-price-busting $89-$100 this weekend, HBO and Showtime look to clean up with the marquee names slugging off against each other – but not so much if fans can find it for free.
“Defendants’ anticipated infringement not only denies Plaintiffs the benefits of their exclusive rights in the Coverage granted by the Copyright Act, but it threatens to irreparably harm Plaintiffs’ valuable relationships with their authorized television carriers and with consumers,” says the highly illustrated 41-page filing in federal court (read it here). “Defendants’ infringing stream also threatens to damage Plaintiffs’ reputation with consumers, as Plaintiffs cannot exercise any quality control over Defendants’ stream, which may be of inferior quality, subject to technical problems, and may suffer from other quality problems that consumers will mistakenly associate with Plaintiffs.”
And, according to complaint, this is not the first time the named sites have grabbed the gloves, so to speak.
“Plaintiffs are informed and believe and on that basis allege that Defendants have a long history of promoting infringing streams of copyrighted broadcasts of boxing matches. Archives of <boxinghd.net> reveal that Defendants have promoted streams of several other fights, including but not limited to the May 4, 2013 fight between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Robert Guerrero and the July 12, 2014 fight between Erislandy Lara and Canelo Alvarez,” says the multi-claim filing Tuesday. “Neither of these fights were authorized to be streamed live on <boxinghd.net> or anywhere else in the United States.”
“Boxinghd.net and Sportship.org are promoting unauthorized free streams of our intellectual property,” HBO and Showtime said in a statement Tuesday when contacted by Deadline. “As content creators and distributors, we believe that combating piracy and stopping content theft is crucial to maintain our ability to provide our customers with world-class programming like the Mayweather-Pacquaio fight.”
With fight night looming, we’ll see how fast the court’s footwork is on this one.
Beverly Hills’ firm Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP is representing HBO, Showtime and the other two plaintiffs in the matter.