Remember ATDHE.net? Now known as ATDHE.me? The name changed last winter when ICE (U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement) seized ten domains just days before the Super Bowl. This week they finally arrested a New Yorker for illegally streaming "copyrighted sports events": 19 year old Mohamed Ali.
“Today’s arrest sends a clear message to website operators who mistakenly believe it’s worth the risk to take copyrighted programming and portray it as their own,” said ICE Director John Morton.
“Protecting legitimate business interests are a priority for HSI, the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center and our law enforcement partners. We are dedicated to protecting the jobs, the income and the tax revenue that disappear when organized criminals traffic in stolen content for their own profit.”
- posted by enigmax at TorrentFreak
Ten domains seized but the charges are a single count of criminal copyright infringement which, given the penalties (up to 10 years in prison, $2 million fine, forfeiture and restitution), is fairly serious.
But wait! You may be having the same thought I'm having. I watched a lot of Wolves games on ATDHE and there was little in the way of commercials. In fact, most of the commercials I saw were from the original broadcaster so Ali wouldn't have made a nickel from streaming them. How much money did Ali make?
While ICE claim that Ali charged a fee to view streams, they say that in approximately a year he made just $6,000. A tap of the calculator reveals that at the $6 ‘cheap rate’ just 1,000 ‘tickets’ were sold, at $12 just 500 and at the top rate, around 240. If this is what constitutes one of the “most popular” sites, piracy is truly under control.
Somehow I don't think this kid did it for the money. Maybe one of you cable addicts could add it up for me, but getting access to sports at the level Ali provided (albeit low-quality and often laggy) would run up quite the cable bill, wouldn't it? How much does it cost to get all the Wolves games for a single season?
I think the answer to that should be the basis for a fan-based law suit prohibiting the NBA (and other sports leagues) from giving one form of media exclusive broadcast rights. That or legislation forcing all pro teams receiving tax dollars to digitally broadcast all games.
Without pro sports, cable would be destroyed. Pro sports leverage their content to force fans to buy cable (or dish). I know why this is legal, I just don't know why fans put up with it.