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Three major sports associations ask government for stricter DMCA takedowns

Last week, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), National Football League (NFL), and National Basketball Association (NBA) banded together to submit comments to the federal government to tighten restrictions on unauthorized streaming of their content.

Earlier this year, the United States Patent and Trademark Office requested comments from both the government and the private sector in an effort to crack down on counterfeiting and piracy. In response, the three sports associations voiced that their main concern is the ambiguity of the current laws in place. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) states that any website hosting unauthorized material must “expeditiously” remove it as soon as they are notified.

“DMCA does not define ‘expeditiously,’ and OSPs have exploited this ambiguity in the statutory language to delay removing content in response to takedown requests,” reads the associations’ comments. “Unfortunately, UFC, NBAP and NFLP’s shared experience is that many OSPs frequently take hours or even days to remove content in response to takedown notices—thus allowing infringing live content to remain online during the most anticipated moments, or even the entirety, of a UFC event or an NBA or NFL game. ”

See also: Man sentenced to three years in prison for illegally streaming major league sports, extortion

The resolution that the sporting leagues are requesting is “to establish that, in the case of live content, the requirement to ‘expeditiously’ remove infringing content means that content must be removed ‘instantaneously or near-instantaneously’ in response to a takedown request.”

Concurrently, the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) has made it known that it opposes any tightening of current DMCA laws, commenting, “Under both existing copyright law and trademark law, there is no obligation on the part of online service providers to proactively monitor or enforce infringements. Rather, this is a matter of discretion and policy for each service, and should remain that way. The imposition of proactive enforcement obligations would be less effective, would inevitably negatively impact free speech and legitimate trade, and would introduce untold unintended consequences—digital services would be disincentivized from innovating and would do only what the law required, benefiting no one.”


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