If you don’t have cable, you’re at work, or you aren’t interested in buying a $50 PPV, internet streaming normally provides a solid alternative to watching a sports event on TV. Is it legal? Well not really….actually no, so of course the US Government is doing all it can to make sure these popular streaming websites are taken down. Sure enough they actually took a few down:
Those planning on watching Super Bowl XLV on their computers for free will have to do a little more searching this Sunday afternoon. ATDHE.net and ChannelSurfing.net, two incredibly popular video streaming websites, were seized by the United States government on Tuesday. What has become an infamous “ICE Homeland Security Investigations” message is now all that is found on either website.
Both ATDHE and ChannelSurfing offered free video streams for sporting events from all over the world, including cricket, international soccer, rugby, MMA and events from each of the “big four” North American sports leagues. Neither ATDHE nor ChannelSurfing actually hosted the sports video streams. They merely posted links that redirected visitors to the desired streaming videos.
The fact that ATDHE and ChannelSurfing (and I will admit I’ve used both sites before) aren’t providing content themselves but instead making it easier to direct users to other sites providing the actual content has to be a case of misguided party-crashing. Surely if you’re going to go after copyright infringement you head towards Justin.tv, UStream, and several other sites I won’t mention because maybe the government will read this and take them down too.
I assume under copyright law ATDHE and others were torn apart under the “publicly displayed” banner of this definition of infringement:
As a general matter, copyright infringement occurs when a copyrighted work is reproduced, distributed, performed, publicly displayed, or made into a derivative work without the permission of the copyright owner.
Way to go, government! It’s a shame that your laws do not extend outside the United States because ATDHE is up and running under ATDHE.me. This is a registered Macedonian domain and to my knowledge Homeland Security cannot just barge in and seize the website.
So don’t fret stream-viewers, if you must illegally view the Super Bowl, UFC 126, or Cleveland Cavaliers basketball over the next few days then ATDHE has a Plan B and there are a variety of p2p places around the net (Google is your friend) that cannot be stopped by US Copyright Laws.
You can’t stop the internet. For every three websites the government takes down, another fifteen pop-up. It’s naive to think that total authority over online sports streaming can be achieved.