Throwing a Single Sandbag at a Tsunami

The Football Association and the English Premier League have caught on to Justin.tv's free online streaming of matches and have filed a lawsuit. It's yet another pointless attempt to slow the sharing of IP online. When are businesses going to get wise?

Major League Baseball has no such problems, as they offer all 2,400-plus games a season online, in 1,200 k/sec for about $130. And their advanced media division is proving to be a cash cow for the sport. The Premier league doesn't even give away it's own highlights for free (whereas you can go directly to MLB.com minutes after every game and watch all the highlights there at no charge). Other sports leagues need to follow MLB's lead. If you provide better quality and stable access, a large majority of people will still pay for your superior product even where free alternatives exist. This is basically what the software industry has learned, making cracked software incompatable with each updated version that comes out. You don't waste your time filing lawsuits, just make it difficult for pirates to match the quality of your product and you'll do just fine.

One thing that made me chuckle, in the aforelinked CNET article, is that it's written by a Chris Matyszczyk, who is described as, "a multi award-winning creative director who now advises major global corporations on content creation and marketing." He also says the following about Justin.tv:

It also means that you can watch any number of channels launched by people who are watching live televised soccer in many parts of the world.

These people, in the interests of world fan harmony, helpfully point their webcams at their TV screens. They do this so that those in, say, the UK, who happen not to be able to enjoy the game live (either because they don't pay for the appropriate channel or because the appropriate channel is not screening it in the UK that day), can hiss every miss and cheer with every beer.

They're called TV cards, Chris.

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