Utter lack of mainstream hype aside, the occasion of Floyd Mayweather's next (and last, he insists) fight this weekend against Andre Berto presents an opportunity to examine piracy, and how rights holder Showtime is dealing with issues like websites illegally streaming the fight and what role popular apps like Periscope and Meerkat play in all of this.
Showtime parent company CBS is taking the novel approach of making the fight available online legally for $64.99 on cbs.com/fight. (It's also available on pay-per-view like normal.) In May, the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight was not available online legally in the US, forcing cord cutters who wanted to watch to either find a friend with cable, go to a bar, or stream it illegally. CBS is playing catch-up here since pay-per-view events from boxing competitors like UFC and WWE have been available online legally for several years.
Showtime this week also filed a lawsuit against a websites with the less-than-clandestine URL www.mayweathervsandrebertolivestream.com (which is no longer online) that planned to illegally stream the fight, so that's one way to deal with piracy.
Periscope and Meerkat were criticized in the days following Mayweather-Pacquiao because several pirated livestreams popped up during the fight. While Periscope did not respond to Motherboard's request for comment, Meerkat did tell us that it has a team monitoring the service for pirated content. The company also stressed that its community is vigilant in sniffing out pirated content. Showtime also told us that it continues to work with the likes of Periscope and Meerkat to keep its copyrighted content off their platforms.
Whether you'd even want to pirate a Mayweather fight, however, is between you and your maker.