Criminal Law

By Rachael Scott


Foxtel hit back at Facebook users who live streamed the Green vs Mundine fight

At least two social media users are facing fines of up to $60,000 or 5 years’ imprisonment for allegedly using Facebook to live stream the Danny Green and Anthony Mundine fight last Friday.

Foxtel users had to pay $59.95 in order to view the fight, but up to 112,000 people were able to view it for free as a result of two men allegedly live streaming the entire event, breaching various Copyright laws. A Foxtel spokesperson stated that “The instigators of the illegal streams on Facebook were made aware that any online streaming of the event was not permitted and one has gone so far as to create a fundraising page in anticipation of his legal costs.”

One of the men in question, Darren Sharpe, received a phone call from a Foxtel Spokesperson in the middle of his live stream of the fight. “I want you to stop streaming it on Facebook. Just keep watching the fight at home, there’s no dramas with that. Just don’t stream it on Facebook,” the Foxtel representative could be heard saying. To which the man allegedly responded by saying that he didn’t believe he was doing anything wrong, and would keep streaming for the “78,000 viewers tuning in”.

However, Foxtel has since indicated that they believe Mr Sharpe was incorrect in his assessment, and he was in fact in breach of Copyright Laws. Section 87 of the Copyright Act 1967 addresses TV and sound broadcasts specifically. While it doesn’t explicitly touch on streaming of copyright content, it is still covered under Part C as an “exclusive right”. There are some exceptions to this section when it comes to live streaming copyright content on social media. For example, last year Twitter obtained a licence to live stream the Melbourne Cup.

This alleged incident reiterates that users of Social Media need to be cautious, and understand that misusing these services can lead to serious legal consequences.