@Ben_Wisden 3 minute read
The YouTube livestream for the first game of the 2021 T20 Blast, between Lancashire Lightning and Derbyshire Falcons, was removed from the platform partway through the game’s first innings due to a fraudulent copyright claim.
Kent’s coverage of their clash with Hampshire Hawks and Somerset’s of their game against Essex have also been affected.
At around the midway point in Derbyshire’s innings, the live footage was replaced by the message, “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by England and wales cricket borad /Sporta Technologies Pvt.ltd. [sic]” A new live stream was posted by the club, but this was also removed in the same manner. Wisden.com has confirmed that the ECB were not involved in having the stream removed and that the copyright claims were fraudulent. Sports Technologies Private Limited, who operate cricket live-streaming service Fancode, have been approached for comment.
It is not clear how the fraudulent copyright claim came to be viewed as genuine by YouTube. According to YouTube’s video removal request form, providing information when making a copyright claim is done so under penalty of perjury.
Early on in the Lancashire game, there were more than 17,000 people watching the stream concurrently, a figure far above the average for a County Championship match. While partly down to the fact that this was the only fixture on at the time, rather than competing with up to eight other matches as in the County Championship, there was also expected to be increased interest in this game, with Jos Buttler making his return to action, and highly rated New Zealand youngster Finn Allen making his overseas T20 debut.
The game was available to watch on Lancashire’s Facebook page for its duration. While the lost viewing figures will come as a blow to the Manchester-based side, they at least enjoyed a successful outing on the pitch, with Liam Livingstone leading from the front, smashing an unbeaten 94 to seal a final-over, six-wicket win. England leg-spinner Matt Parkinson claimed 3-28, while Allen hit an explosive 13-ball 29, and Buttler a more sedate 28-ball 30.
“Lancashire Cricket is currently investigating issues which saw the live stream of today’s Vitality Blast fixture against Derbyshire Falcons removed off YouTube due to two fraudulent copyright claims,” said the club in a statement. “It is absolutely clear that no copyright infringement has been made in the streaming of this game. The live stream continued unaffected on the Club’s Facebook account and on the ECB’s website and app. We apologise to any of our supporters whose viewing of the game was affected by this and will continue to work to fully understand the details of this issue. We are awaiting further clarification from YouTube.”
Later in the day, Kent’s live stream of their opening fixture against Hampshire Hawks was also removed, with the copyright claim coming from the same source. Somerset’s stream was also affected for a time, with the West Country side tweeting that they had been “hacked”. At the time of writing, their stream is live on YouTube.
Completely out of our control. Live stream hacked @YouTube
Back live now!
— Somerset Cricket 🏏 (@SomersetCCC) June 9, 2021
Kent said in a statement “Kent Spitfires’ YouTube stream of the match against Hampshire Hawks last night was one of three first-class counties affected by an unidentified issue, rendering the YouTube stream unavailable citing ‘Copyright issues with England and Wales Cricket Borad’. The club’s broadcast and commentary equipment were unaffected and we switched immediately to our official Facebook page to continue the live stream. All counties have been working closely with ECB to bring cricket fans free and uninterrupted coverage this summer and ECB is now working on behalf of all first-class counties to investigate and resolve the issue.”
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