Justin.tv proves to win live video wars, break the law

YouTube got to the top of the online video clip industry by systematically flaunting copyright laws until it could get big enough to be bought by Google and let their lawyers handle it. It seems that in the fight between Justin.tv and Ustream.tv for the live video market, one side has taken the high road and the other is going to win.

Quite apart from an allegations of Justin.tv enabling child pornography, which the Inquisitr is also investigating, Justin.tv is the hub of a network of Web sites which provide global sports fans with links to live video streams of sporting events, openly flaunting international broadcast laws.

Atdhe.net and Channelsurfing.net are just two of a number of sites which maintain databases of sporting events and link to them as they are shown each day. These sites embed video feeds from Justin.tv which are blatantly stolen re-broadcasts from ESPN, Fox Sports, NFL Network and the free-to-air networks, and a list of international events like soccer from a variety of networks, plus Australian rules football and rugby league on Australia’s Channels Seven, Nine and Ten and a host of European feeds.

While some of the feeds are hosted on private sites, by far the most popular conduit for these feeds is Justin.tv, which even puts its watermark over the offending streams. Ustream, which in comparison has taken the responsible route of partnering with CBS and other content partners and squashing anyone who tried to use its site for infringing rebroadcasts, is being thrashed on traffic numbers in comparison, according to any metrics firm you’d care to ask.

Can Justin.tv hide behind the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which at least nominally protects them from legal action, long enough to get bought YouTube-style by someone who can defend them from the inevitably massive law suits they are risking? Allowing these feeds to stay up for so long that a subculture of sites has now spread up around them is pushing the intention of the statutes way too far for comfort.