Periscope Co-Founder Plays Down Piracy Threat

The threat of piracy to Hollywood via livestream apps is overstated, according to Kayvon Beykpour, co-founder of Twitter-owned Periscope.

In an appearance Tuesday at the Techcrunch Disrupt conference in New York, Beykpour blamed press coverage of the copyright-infringing streams that popped up during Saturday’s Mayweather-Pacquiao fight for magnifying the extent of the infractions, though he also acknowledged more needed to be done together with content owners to deal with the problem.

“Generally there’s way more media attention than there is a problem,” Beykpour said.

His statements were the latest acknowledgements of the situation from Twitter, which came under scrutiny after CEO Dick Costolo was criticized for tweeting his support of Periscope the night of the fight.

On Monday, Twitter issued a statement clarifying what efforts were taken by Periscope to contain the problem on Saturday.

“Members of the Periscope team, which operates independently of Twitter, were on staff Saturday night to disable any such streams that were reported by rights holders. In total we received 66 DMCA requests, we were able to act against 30, within minutes. The remaining streams had already ended or were no longer available,” the statement read.

But Beykpour acknowledged at Disrupt that DMCA, or Digital Millennium Copyright Act, requests, are not a very effective tool for responding to live copyright infringement because the speed at which the infractions take place is far faster than the requests can be processed.

Still, he also minimized just how much piracy is taking place, citing an incident last month that got a lot of attention, when the premiere episode of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” was spotted on Periscope.

“There’s probably an order of magnitude more articles about the ‘Game of Thrones’ thing than actual streams of ‘Game of Thrones,’” said Beykpour.

Beykpour struck a less defensive tone Sunday in a tweet that sought to portray Periscope as law-abiding. “Piracy does not excite us. Trust me, we respect IP rights & had many people working hard to be responsive last night (including myself),” he wrote.

Lauren Jones, the spokeswoman for Twitter responsible for Periscope, did not respond to further inquiries for comment, nor did a rep for Meerkat, another livestreaming app that was held responsible for some of the copyright-infringing streaming Saturday. A rep for Showtime, which handled publicity for the fight on its own behalf as well as HBO, its partner on the pay-per-view telecast, declined comment.

Beykpour indicated Tuesday his willingness to work with content partners on more effective piracy controls. But a source familiar with conversations between the livestreaming apps and HBO and Showtime indicated that the programmers were displeased with the levels of piracy that occurred Saturday because there were talks held prior to the fight among all involved.

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