Monday morning (U.S. Sunday afternoon), I got up and searched through my t.v. settings to find a channel that was going to be showing the live broadcast of the Superbowl. Unfortunately, I was not able to find one although I get several sports channels, but, no matter, I turned to the internet.
During the last election season, it was made very clear that I no longer need to rely on my t.v. to get live coverage of important events. Anything Senator McCain or President Obama did was streamed live to one website or another. So, while obviously not as important as a national election, surely the Superbowl would be streamed live somewhere online as well?
Well, yes and no. The Superbowl was indeed streamed live to many different websites, but none of them were sanctioned, legal, webcasts. None of the network websites, nor any NFL affiliated sites had a live stream up. Instead, the sites hosting live feeds were setting theirs up through sites like justin.tv that will let anyone set up their own live stream.
I selected one at random and the game began. Midway through the third quarter the feed I was watching went dark. I waited a few minutes, wondering if a cable had come loose somewhere, before going to the feed host and finding the message that the stream had been pulled due to copyright violations. I was watching another feed within seconds. This happened twice more, and both times I was able to find a new stream quickly and easily.
So, my question is, why did the NFL and / or NBC spend the time and money on lawyers to fight such an unwinable battle?
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting that either the NFL nor NBC owe anybody anything or that they should have to suffer pirates. I acknowledge that they were well within their legal rights to shut down those streams. It just seems rather pointless. Wouldn't it have made more sense for NFL.com or NBC.com to host a legitimate, legal stream complete with the same advertisements that ran on the broadcast?
I don't know. What I do know is that faced without any legal option, I still watched the Superbowl, live and I don't feel the least bit guilty about it. Am I wrong?