Evaluating the legality of MLM streambox opportunities
In the lead up to the blockbuster Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather and Manny ‘Pacman’ Pacquiao fight, billed as ‘the biggest pay-per-view sporting event in recent history‘, Showtime and HBO have been actively litigating against illegal stream providers.
To date two streaming websites have been shut down by court order in the US, with more litigation expected to be filed.
What caught my eye about the lawsuits was they were targeted streaming providers not because they’d streamed the fight (how could they, it hasn’t happened yet), but merely because they were ‘planning to illegally stream the fight‘.
In other words, advertising an intention to offer a stream of the fight was enough for a US court to have the two sites in question shut down.
The pay networks launched an attack in the Californian federal court against boxinghd.net, sportship.org and several other anonymous defendants offering a free stream of the fight.
The documents also accuse the defendants of promoting the illegal streams of the fight with advertising on the sites.
Since the legal action both websites have been shut down.
Upon reading an article reporting these developments, my thoughts turned to the streambox MLM opportunities we’ve seen emerge these last few months.
Here’s how vStream TV market their opportunity on their official website:
uBox are a little more subtle, but nonetheless market access to unlicensed third-party content:
Within the context of the recently filed legal action against websites marketing upcoming streams of the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight, I took it upon myself to see if the fight was being used to market vStream TV or uWay.
A quick Google search revealed an abundance of marketing material for both companies, precisely capitalizing on the upcoming pay-per-view fight as a selling point.
Here’s a sample of three vStream TV adverts accessed today, on May 1st, 2015;
and Exhibit C:
And here’s three randomly collected samples of uBox advertising;
and Exhibit C:
Many more examples are available via a combination of relevant keyword searches through Google.
Here’s the thing – both uBox and vStream TV claim to be entirely legal, which is reflected in their own advertising and that of their affiliates.
Yet in filing their recent case against streaming websites,
court papers clearly state there “are no authorised online streams of the coverage”, which means the websites in question are infringing on HBO/Showtime’s copyright.
With both sites sued consequently shut down, this is not up for debate – at least not within a legal context (what anyone thinks of current copyright law in the US is another discussion entirely).
So my question then is, how is uBox and vStream TV marketing any different to that of the streaming sites?
The sites in question didn’t stream the fight themselves, and were nailed solely on their marketing efforts.
Again, look at the advertising examples I’ve provided above (and by all means go and find your own if you want), but tell me how is it any different?
And before anyone mentions that neither uBox or vStream TV themselves are openly advertising the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight, I’ll point out that holding MLM companies accountable for their affiliate’s marketing efforts is well-established case-law.
Although we typically see it in relation to claims made in the health and wellness niche, surely the same applies to claims made by streambox MLM opportunities – specifically the legality of marketing MLM income opportunities via illegal access to licensed content?
Furthermore how on Earth are either vStream TV or uBox going to even address this sort of marketing, seeing as they themselves claim that access unlicensed content is 100% legal in the US?
In an effort to clarify this issue BehindMLM has reached out to both Showtime and HBO, providing them with the exact location of the advertising examples above and both uBox and vStream TV’s websites.
Pending a response from either company, stay tuned…