Sports Fans Shut Out: Channelsurfing.net Owner Brian McCarthy Busted for Alleged Video Piracy

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​To the dismay of sports fans, when they now click on channelsurfing.net for free, pirated NBA games and pay-per-view events, they'll find a long announcement that starts: "This domain name has been seized by ICE - Homeland Security Investigations . . ."

The owner of channelsurfing, Brian McCarthy, was charged yesterday in federal court in New York with criminal copyright infringement.

Officials tell the Voice that this is the first time someone in New York City has been charged with illegally streaming live sports games. (He was charged in New York because the FBI was monitoring his computer from computers here).

Channelsurfing.net was one of the countless websites that sports fans love and professional sports leagues despise because they provide free pirated downloads of such popular stuff as pay-per-view UFC mixed-martial-arts events and live games from the NFL and NBA.

But the government, in response to pressure from major sports leagues, is starting to crack down on this type of piracy.

"On Feb. 2 federal investigators seized the domain names of 10 foreign-owned sites that had become hubs for sports fans looking for free sports broadcasts online," writes Brad Stone of BusinessWeek.

Still, it looks like a cat-and-mouse game. Within a few hours, all the pirate sites had moved to new Web addresses, outside of the reach of U.S. authorities.

It hasn't been until fairly recently that providers of pirated content figured out the technology to stream live. The NFL reportedly took down 4,130 unauthorized live streams of its games during the 2010 season — a 67 percent jump from the total in 2009.

UFC officials, who make hundreds of millions a year just on PPV, are rejoicing at the news of the bust. As mmajunkie.com notes:

The UFC annually offers approximately a dozen PPV offerings and in 2010 earned an estimated $450 million in PPV revenue. The events cost $44.95 each ($55.95 for the HD version) both via cable/satellite providers and via official online outlets.

[edwoskin@villagevoice.com]


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14 comments
New York City Hotel
New York City Hotel

just another situation of govt over increasing their limitations and nobody thoughtful. gradually we are going to end up like chinese suppliers were the whole online will be censored. It always begins little, but soon it engulfs everything.

xxxtruthordare
xxxtruthordare

such as the management of sports leagues, as well as many other sites as illegal Zap to choose from - so the title should be changed to "sports fans outside of illegal immigration in one place, a public leagues are trying to prevent the practice of illegal content and hundreds of other...erotic game

xxxtruthordare
xxxtruthordare

another case of government extending its borders and take care of anyone. finally going to end up like China, while the Internet is censored. Always starts small, but very soon envelops everything.erotic game

gametruthordare
gametruthordare

I do not feel well. Sports enthusiasts may be excluded from seeing the illicit flow of flick, but there are many legal options, run by sports leagues and many other illegal sites like zap to choose - so that the As should perhaps be changed from "Sports fans excluded from illicit flows one place, leagues are trying to prevent public use of the distribution of illegal content to hundreds of other....erotic game

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Generic Viagra

I do not feel right. Sports enthusiasts may be excluded from viewing illicit flows of zapping, but there are many legal options, as managed by the sports leagues, as well as many more illegal sites such as zapping to choose from - so the title should may be changed to "sports fans excluded from illegal flows in one place, public leagues are trying to prevent the practice of the distribution of illegal content to hundreds of other

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Chris
Chris

just another case of government over extending their boundaries and nobody caring. eventually we are gonna end up like china were the entire internet will be censored. It always starts small, but soon it engulfs everything.

Jay
Jay

Doesn't mean that it's not over priced content though...

Jeff Young
Jeff Young

I'm not feeling the title. Sports fans may be shut out from watching illegal streams from channelsurfing, but there are many legal, quality options run by the sports leagues, in addition to many more illegal sites like channelsurfing to choose from -- so the Title should perhaps be amended to 'Sports fans shut out from illegal streams on one site; gov't, leagues seek to inhibit practice of illegal content distribution on hundreds of others'

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