Willow TV’s Accused, Alleged Cricket Pirates Respond

by Devanshu Mehta

First off, apologies for calling you cricket pirates. Personally, I’d love to be a cricket pirate, traveling the seven seas challenging his majesty’s naval force to timeless test matches.

In the three days since the Willow TV story broke open, this blog has been the center of activity. What started as a two line blog post, has since expanded in to a long, developing article on the state of the story of legal notices that Willow TV sent to (perhaps thousands of) people accused of subscribing to pirated cricket streams.

In three days, the article has received thousands of visits, mostly from people searching for “willow tv legal notice” and related strings on Google.

At the same time, we have received dozens of comments from the accused on the blog, by email and on Twitter. Already many of the cricket pirates are collaborating through the comments on this blog. Here is a sampling of some of the best comments so far.

Iqbal Khan wrote a long, heartfelt comment. A key excerpt:

Like many, i did not know at all that willow.tv is the official broadcaster of cricket matches in North America until I read their (threatening) email. [..] If I or others really wanted to cheat then we would have opted for free streaming websites but instead we paid for the WC2011 matches which clearly shows our intent of not doing anything wrong intentionally.

Many others have rallied around Iqbal’s counter-offer to Willow in the comments.

Many in the comments have questioned Willow’s methods– sending an email through a marketing agency, with no offline contact information and no details on the nature of the violation. Here is an excerpt from loobadshah:

I, like most people, will be willing to pay the required amount and get out of any liability but the way they have approached this is quite ridiculous. You sent out this legal notice through a marketing and newsletter distributing agency – who in the world does that?

Others have astutely pointed out that simply viewing a pirated video online makes pirates of many of us through YouTube. Here is Somesh:

So what is next ? I view some pirated video which is put on youtube and I have to pay for that ?
Is it the end user’s responsibility to ensure that the streamer owns the copyright ?

Similarly, here is Ankur:

The whole argument by Willow TV has no merit at all. Its like Apple suing all the Samsung mobile users because they have some patents which Samsung is using and vice-versa.

Others have started digging up Willow TV’s historically bad record of customer service and public relations. And this incident only makes things worse.

Also, other web sites have since picked up the story. GigaOm spoke with Willow TV CEO Vijay Srinivasan, and Medianama did a report as well.