Foxtel threatens to sue as Facebook pirates plunder Mundine vs Green fight

Tens of thousands of fight fans have sidestepped Foxtel’s pay per view broadcast of the Anthony Mundine Danny Green rematch using Facebook’s live streaming capabilities in an act of mass piracy with Foxtel warning it will be taking legal action against those who streamed the event.

Facebook became a piracy platform for the Mundine/Green fight

Facebook became a piracy platform for the Mundine/Green fight

Foxtel technicians were sent scrambling to cut off feeds one-by-one as audiences for some of the live streams topped 150,000 viewers.

One Foxtel customer recorded the moment he was called and told to stop streaming the event to more than 90,000 people.

Another viewer streaming the fight from his phone was overheard to cry: “Oh you c*#t, how do you fix it?” as his subscription to the fight was severed.

The rematch between Anthony Mundine and Danny Green after more than a decade was a major event for Foxtel’s Main Event channel with viewers forking out $59.95 for the fight.

But enterprising subscribers quickly moved to stream the broadcast from their mobile phones to Facebook friends, who then shared the feeds with a wider audience.

One Foxtel customer’s audience topped more than 150,000 before Foxtel abruptly cut off his feed without warning.


Other Facebook users shared where the pirated feeds could be found leading to thousands of people “channel hopping” between feeds as Foxtel struggled to crack down on the pirates.

It is believed to have been the biggest act of mass piracy of a live event in Australia using Facebook since live streaming was introduced by Facebook last year.

Some subscribers resorted to covering the Foxtel/Main Event logo on their TVs with fast food containers in a bid to avoid being identified by Foxtel technicians.


Subscription TV broadcasters in New Zealand saw a similar act of mass piracy on Facebook late last year when Sky carried a PPV event.

A Foxtel spokesperson said the broadcaster was still investigating the incident but noted technicians would have made clear to pirates that they were breaking the law.

He declined to identify how Foxtel deduced who of its subscribers were streaming the event through their Facebook pages.

“The subscriptions to the February 3 Green vs. Mundine match were restricted to individual residential use only and were not authorised for rebroadcast,” the spokesperson said.

“What occurred last night on Facebook is stealing and it’s harmful to the future of boxing and live sport. The appropriate legal action will be taken.”

Facebook users inundated streamers with supportive comments.

Facebook users inundated streamers with supportive comments.

A spokesperson for Facebook told Mumbrella that streaming of the fight was in contravention of the “community rules”.

One Facebook user who streamed the fight has already set up a PayPal account page for his defence if Foxtel pursues the matter with a pledge for funds to go to the Cancer Council if nothing happens.

Brett Hevers, whose stream reached 153,000 viewers before his PPV subscription was cut off by Foxtel, said he was motivated to share the fight because he had a number of friends who could not access Foxtel.

“I had a few mates who were interested and couldn’t watch it,” Hevers told Mumbrella.

“I expected to get about 20 views. My intention as never to breach copyright. I did a bit of a Google beforehand and couldn’t see anything. I’m just an Aussie bloke who goes to work.”

The Facebook streamer said while he was not an activist, the lack of access for many Australians to the broadcast was endemic of a bigger issue surrounding sports.

“I think it was fair they charged for the fight, but $60? I think if they had charged say $10, then I would not have had 150,000 people watching my stream. In this day and age there are so many ways people can access sport, you need to let them.”

The streaming of the fight by Facebook users also saw enterprising business owners such as pizza shops and tradesmen using the comment threads to promote their businesses.



Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.