Much like every other entertainment medium, the UFC has been struggling to find a solution to online piracy. Illegal streams of the PPV events are often readily available, while downloads of the matches can be found just hours after they’ve aired.
However, The Washington Post reports that a new proposal may allow the UFC to enact stricter punishments for people who illegally stream their content. The Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force recently released a report endorsing a piece of the controversial, and failed, Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) that had the internet in an uproar in 2011.
That piece would make the streaming of copyrighted works a felony. Currently, doing so is considered a “violation of the public performance right,” and is punishable as a misdemeanor. On the other hand, reproducing and distributing copyrighted content is a felony that can result in heavy fines or even jail time.
The UFC was a big supporter of SOPA, and thus, will likely also be coming out in favor of this proposal as well. It’s not a popular notion among many internet-based content providers such as Google, but it seems that the UFC is willing to do anything in its power to crack down on the illegal distribution of its PPV events.