back to article Sky customer dinged for livestreaming pay-per-view boxing to Facebook

A Sky subscriber who illegally streamed a pay-per-view boxing match to Facebook has copped a plea with the broadcaster. Craig Foster, of Scarborough, England, had paid the £19.95 fee to watch the fight live last April, and invited friends round to watch. One pointed his iPad at the TV and in the spirit of information wants to …


      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: I'm Guessing Russian Hackers

        Sky were 3,999 of the viewers...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm Guessing Russian Hackers

      If he has Sky TV, he probably has Sky broadband. Doesn't take a genius.

      1. jeffdyer

        Re: I'm Guessing Russian Hackers

        I get Sky TV through CableTel no NTL no Virgin. No Sky Broadband here.

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: I'm Guessing Russian Hackers

        If he has Sky TV, he probably has Sky broadband

        Not always. I have Sky TV but wouldn't touch Sky Broadband with someone elses bargepole..

        (Mind you, I'm kind of an edge case.. in oh, so many ways..)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm Guessing Russian Hackers

      Some meddling kids with a dog.

      1. SquidEmperor

        Re: I'm Guessing Russian Hackers

        He would have got away with it but

    3. Dabooka Silver badge

      Re: I'm Guessing Russian Hackers

      Erm, it would have appeared on his Facebook account. That's a bit of a clue is it not? The fact his name was there in big letters?

      1. SquidEmperor

        Re: I'm Guessing Russian Hackers

        Irony. Look it up.

        1. Martin Summers Silver badge

          Re: I'm Guessing Russian Hackers

          "Irony. Look it up."

          Waaaaay too subtle, lack of a winky face and you went a bit Bombastic Bob on us.

    4. alcopops

      Re: I'm Guessing Russian Hackers

      A digital watermark produced by his Sly box.

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder....

    Why don't the manufactures just pressure the camera makers to some sort of agreement to have equipment refuse to record certain shapes. This technology is already in place with money (take any British note and look for the yellow circles. Now try using a scanner/copier and it should block it from scanning for those of a curious nature) so im sure something similar could be applied?

    Annon because I know I'm playing devils advocate here.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: I wonder....

      Why? Recording is not illegal - it's broadcasting that is. Moreover, while professional sports may have sold exclusive rights, your amateur sport team don't, and they may like to have photos/videos.

      Notes "signatures" are there to block the naive forger. But I would like to see professional player painted to achieve the same - but maybe tattoos could be used for the same purpose...

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: I wonder....

        Much easier to mark the broadcasts by requiring receivers to digitally watermark it with the account number or receiver ID (or maybe it would be easier to just flash the number up on the screen every few minutes)

        AFAIK nothing like that is done for PPV broadcasts in the US, but given the millions of people who supposedly watched the Mayweather McGregor fight on illegal streams last year I'll bet they are talking to the big cable/satellite companies about doing some sort of watermarking. Wouldn't help shut down the streams during the event, but a few people sued for big bucks would make the news and make it less likely to happen going forward.

  2. Prosthetic Conscience

    5000 is all right for what they could've claimed to have lost, nearly 80 000..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      hence the guy will be utterly stupid to take it to court.

  3. MJI Silver badge

    Can you just go bankrupt?

    To get rid of the leeches?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can you just go bankrupt?

      £5000 will be cheaper than going bankrupt and having to get and credit at a bargain 3000% pa

  4. Mad Mike

    The real point

    Reading the posting, I think people are missing the real point here.

    It says he paid £19.95 to watch the fight with four pals. ONE OF HIS PALS decided to stream it on facebook. So, this guy didn't actually do the streaming. Now, this leads to an interesting issue. Is it his responsibility to ensure nobody streams it? Would he necessarily be aware they were doing it? What if someone streamed it using a camera outside his window, maybe in a public place looking in. The fact his subscriber number or whatever was showing isn't really relevant. The offender is the person streaming it, not the Sky subscriber, unless they are one and the same.

    So, why not go after his pal?

    1. rmason Silver badge

      Re: The real point

      @Mad Mike

      Assuming the pal in question picked up the iPad (and therefore FB account) of the guy who lived there/had paid for the stream.

      Hence it will have streamed to FB under his account, not his "friend" who did the streaming.

      1. Mad Mike

        Re: The real point


        Agreed it could have been the chaps iPad and FB account. However, he wasn't actually doing it. So, how is he liable. That's like saying if someone steals your car and runs someone over, you're liable as it's your car. The person actually doing it is liable, nothing to do with the device or account involved.

        Maybe they're arguing he helped facilitate the crime. However, this would mean they should sue his friend for the offence and him as an accessory. Strikes me that the case could be argued, but it's the old issue of costs becoming stupid, so easier to settle as he's done.

        1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

          Re: The real point

          According to the linked article, it was Foster's iPad and was logged into Foster's FB account.

          It seems he knew the fight was being streamed, that it was wrong to do that, but did nothing to terminate it.

          "I know streaming the fight was wrong. I didn’t stop my friend but I was watching the boxing. I’m just a bloke who had a few drinks with his friends."

          "They’re demanding the names and addresses of all my mates who were round that night but I’m not going to give them up. I said I’d take the rap."

          1. Mad Mike

            Re: The real point

            @Jason Bloomberg.

            I think there's a fundamental issue here that is being missed. People are under no requirement in law to stop offences occurring. They are required not to commit offences themselves, but not to actively prevent someone else committing one. So, the fact he knew his friend was doing it and that it was illegal is not really relevant. I can sit next to someone and watch them commit fraud, but provided I don't take any part, I'm not under any legal obligation to inform anybody, let alone the police.

            So, the perpetrator is actually this persons friend. He is the person Sky should have gone after. Also, bear in mind what type of offence this is. It's a copyright offence. This is civil, at least at the scale implied here. He wasn't making DVDs by the thousand and selling them. So, he's not under the normal criminal investigation requirements.

            By using his iPad and FB account, at worst he's an accessory. Providing material aid to the offence. Of course, he could always deny giving permission for the iPad to be used. To succeed, they would need to show he provided the tools freely and knew what was happening and that it was an offence. His candid honesty is probably his downfall there. He could simply have said I didn't know what was going on. Different friends used my iPad at different times during the night. I assumed they were simply surfing the web at the time. His FB being logged on all the time on his iPad explains how they gained access to his FB account, which he should show shock over!!

            A bit more thought on his behalf and he could probably have got away with it. Just get everybody to say nothing to do with them and say it must have been somebody else. Me, didn't do it, don't know nothing about it. Must have been one of the others!!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The real point

          "That's like saying if someone steals your car and runs someone over, you're liable as it's your car. The person actually doing it is liable, nothing to do with the device or account involved."

          Try this as it is closer.

          Giving your car keys to your mate knowing he is going to commit a bank robbery using that car.

          You are liable as you have assisted in an offence.

          In this case not only was it his "car" but his shotgun registered in his name as well.

          1. Mad Mike

            Re: The real point

            @Lost all faith.

            I don't think that's any closer at all. The chaps admissions afterwards are smoewhat stupid. He should have denied knowing what was going on. Using his iPad and FB account is irrelevant and nothing like using someones shotgun. If someone asked to borrow your shotgun for unspecified reasons, you'd naturally be somewhat suspicious. If someone asks to borrow your iPad, you just assume they want to look something up. Whole different ballgame.

            They should have all denied all knowledge and just said it must have been one of the others mate. Sky would then have to show who it was and go after them. How they going to do that. He could have even registered a complaint of computer misuse aganist an unknown person for misusing his iPad for good measure!!

            As usual, the big corporation is just issuing threats and going after someone too small to effectively respond and scaring them into paying. It's nothing to do with justice, not that I'm defending what they did. It's all about big corporation bully boy tactics.

        3. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: The real point

          ". So, how is he liable. That's like saying if someone steals your car and runs someone over, you're liable as it's your car. The person actually doing it is liable, nothing to do with the device or account involved."

          Whilst the person who actually did it is liable, as the owner of the vehicle you also may incur liability - particularly if you hadn't reported the car stolen, depending largely on whether the police can identify and apprehend the person who was driving the car.

          [ ]

          Also in this case the guy will have signed an agreement with Sky probably for both his usage of Sky TV and of his broadband...

          1. Mad Mike

            Re: The real point


            When you report the car stolen is largely irrelevant in that sort of case. It's really around whether the police believe (and can prove) that you actually reported it stolen to avoid any connection to the incident. There are plenty of instances of peoples cars being stolen and used for crimes whilst they're on holiday. They don't report them stolen until they get back and sometimes the police actually tell them before they've found it missing!! Does that somehow make them

            His agreement with Sky for TV and broadband is only relevant if he has breached it in some way. Assuming he denies doing the streaming, how has he breached it? As long as he has plausible deniability in it, he's golden.

  5. petethebloke


    I thought it was going to be an article about children filming themselves putting presents back into boxes.

  6. unwarranted triumphalism

    Sky are an absolute disgrace

    They have nothing but utter contempt for their customers. Glad that I am not one.

  7. Scott 26

    Same thing happens in NZ too...

  8. Henry North London

    How they found out.

    He used a camera on an IPad, correct? All cameras on any device are hackable. Now let's say that he also installed Sky Go on that IPad. I know from my cousin who works in the telecommunications industry that Huawei have a back door built in to every device they sell. If there are any Huawei users here do not store sensitive information on your device, if it has any Huawei component. I'm am sure that Sky asked Apple to find out who had livestreamed the performance. Or they found out from Facebook, who would have sold them the information immediately. Facebook in its terms and conditions owns everything you post on it. Simple they asked Facebook and got the information on who livestreamed it. More complicated they used their own app whilst it was being livestreamed to figure out the ip address and found out who it was. It's exceptionally easy to hack a live stream of more than five minutes. What we need to know is who made the cameras for the IPad. If it was Huawei then we know that sky asked them to find out. If it was another company then it's their backdoor. Apple as you know has a backdoor because the US government tried to force it to give it up. So either Apple or the camera manufacturer hacked the livestreamed feed.

    1. bish


      It's possible that I'm not getting a very good bit of satire, but, um, maybe they just looked at the name of the person at the top of the Facebook feed, and got their lawyers on the case. It's really not as complicated as you're suggesting.

  9. VulcanV5

    Brain damage?

    Though I never have, nor ever will, understand the appeal of watching two men courting brain damage in the guise of a public entertainment, I had at least figured that cerebral damage was a hallmark of the watched rather than the watchers.

    The desire of the watcher in this instance to contest his case in court demonstrates how wrong I've been.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Some miscreants will be easier to find than this Sky subscriber."

    I think the appropriate word to begin this sentence is 'few'.

  11. mark l 2 Silver badge

    'It was my mate John Smith who did the streaming, but he gone to Africa helping stop poachers killing elephants and won't be coming back'. Job done.

  12. mykingdomforanos

    "Industrial scale" crime

    It's a disturbing notion, that a guy drinking beer in the evening with his mates in his living room has the ability to commit a criminal offence on an "industrial scale", simply by holding his hand in the air and pointing an ipad at the telly.

    A link in the article above leads to another of the author's pieces regarding the relevant legislation, in which the following is written:

    '"This is not about private prosecutions, but serious criminal offences” a source familiar with the plans told us. “Nobody’s going to go after a teenager in their bedroom, unless that teenager is operating a serious scale pirate site. Just as with physical goods, nobody goes after the small fry.”

    Wording in the new recommendation will make clear that it only applies to “egregious” operations involving infringement at scale. The government said as much in its recommendation that the new maximum is for hard-core operators only.'

    But in the article above, we are told:

    "Foster is likely to lose even more money should he proceed to contest the case; the Digital Economy Act introduced custodial sentences for "egregious" or industrial-scale piracy, such as movie release groups."

    Is the semicolon there to warn us that what follows is a non sequitur? Based on the piece above it seems highly unlikely that Foster is a "hard-core operator" and there's no indication that his behaviour was anything other than one-off, so pointing out the penalties for dedicated criminals seems redundant here.

    In fact, the above piece seems to suggest that the filming was done by one of Foster's friends. So perhaps Foster may indeed be able to mount a successful defence in court.

  13. James 94

    Id imagine he was caught as it was shared through his facebook account.

    But i would have thought the "we were all drunk, one of my friends (cant remeber who) picked up my ipad and streamed it" defence should reduce or even make it difficult to proscute? (unless of course muggins, showed his muggins on the stream?)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Foster, versus Foster's iPad-wielding friend

    Imagine that Foster had a friend who had an iPhone slyly peeking out of his pocket, live streaming the show. Foster might not even be aware of what was going on.

    Imagine that Foster had a security camera, that just happened to have the TV screen in view. Imagine that the camera was unsecured, and happened to be indexed on the 'net. One thing follows another, and then people restream the show. Foster might not even be aware of what was going on.

    Imagine somebody sneaks up to his house and videos the show through a window. Etc.

    The reality in this case is that Foster was presumably aware of his friend, but it's not a clear-cut example of Foster himself doing the streaming. Half-and-half I think.

    It's a bit like the grandchildren downloading music while visiting grandma's house. But a bit less so.

    1. Mad Mike

      Re: Foster, versus Foster's iPad-wielding friend


      I agree mostly, but there's an important thing here. Nobody is under a legal obligation to enforce someone else's civil contract or to prevent a ciminal act. You certainly shouldn't facilitate it (aiding), but even if you're of it going on, you don't have to take any steps to stop it. Of course, if asked by a suitable legal authority what happened, you must tell them the truth etc.

      So, even if he was aware of his friend streaming it and knows his friend was breaching the copyright (civil matter), he is not obliged anywhere to take actions to stop it. The issue here is that by allowing his iPad and broadband to be used, he could be argued to be aiding it and effectively involved rather than simply dormant in the matter. They would argue he has supplied material help. However, in any event, he is at worst an accomplice, but the real perpetrator is whoever did the streaming.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When it comes to sky's overpriced sports packages the solution is simple. Just don't watch it. If enough people do this they have no business model, and no amount of thuggery enforcing copyright will save them. Since they increased the cost of watching test match cricket (which used to be free to air in the 'bad' old 70's), I don't watch any cricket. They can get stuffed as far as I'm concerned.


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