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USTA Gives Position on Use of Periscope and Meerkat Live Streaming Apps

Less than three months after the release of live streaming video apps in Periscope and Meerkat, sports organizations and networks around the world are giving their positions and setting policy on how these convenient but controversial apps can be used by fans and others in attendance at their events.

Streaming apps like Periscope could raise rights and privacy concerns in junior tennis
courtesy, Rick Limpert
Caught off guard by fans livestreaming the May 2, Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight via Periscope and Meerkat from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the sports and live entertainment world was quickly introduced to a new form of online piracy. Almost immediately, video recording was replaced by video live streaming in HD nonetheless, and fans at home refusing to pay $100 for the pay-per-view championship fight were able to see all the jabs and punches from new and unique angles.

HBO and Showtime, rights-holders to the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight were able to fire off a couple "warning shots" in lawsuits to websites running illegal streams of the fight, but as one of the fans shooting the live video in stands of the MGM Garden said, it was "too little, too late."

"There is no way to stop Periscope users, who could just open the app and start broadcasting to the masses without warning."

What's to stop tennis fans, parents and members of the media from "Periscoping" live tennis matches to those who may not be onsite?

Periscope and Meerkat are new livestreaming video apps which link to a user's Twitter account so users can broadcast and watch video from anywhere around the world. Both apps now are available for use by iOS and Android users. While both apps use Twitter as their platform and allow live commenting during broadcasts, Meerkat allows users to schedule broadcasts for the future, while Periscope allows users to see which of their followers, "follow" other Meerkat users.

It's noted that currently, Periscope and Meerkat rely on users to report copyright-infringing material.

Two friends, one tennis parent and one member of the media recently called me to get my impressions of Periscope and proclaim that this app would be perfect for broadcasting tennis matches from junior tournaments and also professional events like this summer's BB&T Atlanta Open, an ATP World Tour and Emirates Airline U.S. Open Series event.

I said, "Not so fast!"

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Page updated on Monday, March 11, 2019
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