- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The co-founder of Periscope Inc. said the hot new live videostreaming app is “unequivocally” opposed to pirating copyrighted video after the company faced complaints that hundreds of its users were effectively stealing and instantly rebroadcasting video of the recent pay-per-view Mayweather-Pacquiao championship boxing match.

Kayvon Beykpour, speaking on CNBC Wednesday morning, said the concept of instant video live-streaming is so young that both streaming companies like Periscope and Meerkat and traditional broadcasters are still learning to work together.

“I can say unequivocally that we are not in any way excited about piracy,” Mr. Beykpour said, “and we will continue to invest to solve this problem.”

The live-streaming apps Meerkat and Periscope allow users to personally stream live video via their smartphones to individual users or thousands of mobile devices in their network, posting video in real-time in much the way Twitter has become an up-to-the-second conversation in text commenting on news and live events.

Periscope came under particular scrutiny after Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, which bought the start-up earlier this year, appeared to be bragging about how many Periscope users had retransmitted the $100 broadcast of the fight, fueling fears the new apps could undercut the exclusive rights for live sporting events and other shows.

Similar complaints have been heard about Periscope users re-streaming the season premiere last month of HBO’s popular “Game of Thrones.”

The fears mirror complaints sparked by the appearance of copyrighted material on YouTube and other aggregation sites.

YouTube “spent years” trying to solve the problem of identifying and removing copyrighted material, Mr. Beykpour said Wednesday, adding that Periscope was already working with content providers such as HBO and the National Basketball Association on keeping protected material from being rebroadcast.

“We are genuinely 100 percent interested in solving this problem,” he said.

Amid reports that thousands of people had watched the pay-per-view fight free via Periscope, Mr. Costolo tweeted Sunday, “And the winner is … Periscopeco,” prompting one Twitter user to reply, “Guess pirating copyrighted content is Twitter’s new business model.”

Periscope said it quickly tried to shut down accounts that were illegally streaming the boxing match via their app, although the company acknowledged that keeping tabs in real time still poses a problem.

“Members of the Periscope team, which operates independently of Twitter, were on staff Saturday night to disable such streams that were reported by rights holders,” Twitter said in a corporate statement Monday. “In total, we received 66 [infringement complaints], [and] we were able to act against 30 within minutes. The remaining streams had already ended or were no longer available.”

The technology behind Periscope and Meerkat, which has struck its own corporate alliance with Facebook, is not new, but Mr. Beykpour said the market is finally catching up to the technology’s promise. He said on CNBC that advances in software, the ubiquity of smartphones and the appetite to share content and interact with providers pioneered by Twitter have prepared the ground for Periscope’s success.

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