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Illegal Streamer Shut Down

from Robert Gearty of the NY Daily News,

On Thursday, the government charged a Michigan man who operated websites that streamed pirated telecasts of top sporting events

Yonjo Quiroa. 28, of Comstock Park, MI, was hit with one count of criminal infringement of a copyright.

“Sports fans may be tempted by illegal streaming websites, but in the end, it is they who pay the price,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.

“These websites and their operators deprive sports leagues and networks of legitimate revenue, forcing spectators and viewers to bear the cost of this piracy down the line,” he said.

In a related action, the feds shut down nine of Quiro’s websites that he operated out of his home, as well as seven other websites.

The websites illegally streamed NFL, NBA, NHL and World Wrestling Entertainment events, said Bharara.

a bit more

Filed in: NHL Talk, Hockey Related Stories, | KK Hockey | Permalink


VooX's avatar

A drop in the bucket.  Smart pirates, while capturing content domestically in the US, situate their servers in foreign jurisdictions where they are protected by local laws (or lack of laws) regarding internet activity.

hockeystreams.com is “located” in the Netherlands.  They further insulate themselves by separating their servers from where they collect payment from subscibers.  When you purchase a hockeystreams.com membership, you are paying, ostensibly, for unspecified “legal services” from a law firm.

Posted by VooX from Behind the Bar in the Hasek Club Car on 02/02/12 at 05:25 PM ET

Primis's avatar

All that will happen now is that 27 different sites will replace his 9.

Until someone figures out a way to stream games that does NOT cost an asinine amount of money (Hi Gamecenter Live, I’m looking at you), the market for this will continue to be strong.

At some juncture these leagues and lawyers will have the epiphany that if you charge a fan a couple bucks to watch a single game streamed to the device of their choice, there’s a whole lot more money to be made there compared to trying to get someone to drop a hundred bucks at a time to mayyybbbee watch a couple game streamed.

Until they do though, the market is begging for this to continue so yeah… good luck with that.

Posted by Primis on 02/02/12 at 05:28 PM ET

Nate A's avatar

Until someone figures out a way to stream games that does NOT cost an asinine amount of money (Hi Gamecenter Live, I’m looking at you), the market for this will continue to be strong.

And just as importantly, without equally asinine blackout restrictions.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 02/02/12 at 05:31 PM ET

Itrusteddrrahmani's avatar

Until someone figures out a way to stream games that does NOT cost an asinine amount of money (Hi Gamecenter Live, I’m looking at you

Furthermore, the 179$ gamecenter fee, precludes you from watching any games that are blacked out including every game in your home market, every versus/nbcsports game, nhl network game, and nbc game of the week.  That adds up to quite a few games that you will never see live (you can watch blacked out games 48 hours later) for quite a high price.

Posted by Itrusteddrrahmani from Nyc by way of A2 on 02/02/12 at 05:31 PM ET

WolfKeeper's avatar

Personally, I don’t think Gamecenter Live is overpriced. I can watch on my computer connected to my 42” TV in better quality than Comcast can provide. I can watch on my iPad in another room or on the couch while the wife enjoys the stupid antics of certain New Jersey meatheads. I can watch from work late at night in a browser window. And I can catch a period or two on my Android phone. GCL is so flexible I don’ t mind the cost.

But it would be nice if the blackouts were dropped. Sometimes I’m in market but can’t get to a TV.

Posted by WolfKeeper on 02/02/12 at 05:40 PM ET

Nate A's avatar

I don’t mind the gamecenter price for full league worth of games. But I dont WANT a full leagues worth of games. I want only one team 98% of the time.

Fix that and especially the blackouts and I’ll sign up in a heartbeat.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 02/02/12 at 05:46 PM ET

Itrusteddrrahmani's avatar

I can watch on my computer connected to my 42” TV in better quality than Comcast can provide

Really?  I have gamecenter live because I’m not always home for games, but I have Center Ice as well because I like to watch on tv at home. I’ve always found the tele version in better quality than the computer hooked up to the tv. I seem to have some ghosting issues when I connect my comp to the tv to watch sports.  You are correct in noting the flexibility, this is very true.  Also, there are wayyy more feeds available in gcl than ci. On ci I can’t always find the Wings home feed which is annoying, but on gcl it’s always there.  I just think for 179 the blackout issue can be a deal breaker depending on the market you live in.  I’m in NY so on gcl I am blacked out of every islanders, devils, rangers game in addition to the national games.  If I was depending solely on gcl for hockey, I’d be pretty upset that my nearly 200$ limits me from those games.  You do have a good point about cell phones though. Being able to watch gcl on an iphone/android is pretty cool, and it works surprisingly well/lag-free.

Posted by Itrusteddrrahmani from Nyc by way of A2 on 02/02/12 at 05:51 PM ET


I’d pay $82 to see every Red Wings game, but I’m not spending $180 for that privilege.

Posted by Garth on 02/02/12 at 05:56 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Well… they don’t make a Bugatti that I like in my price range, so I just decided to steal one instead!

I mean… I’m never ACTUALLY going to use it to go 179 miles per hour, so why should I be forced to pay for that ability?

You’re absolutely right that more options given to fans who ACTUALLY WANT TO WATCH THE GAMES for individual pricing or to ensure that blackouts aren’t going to screw them over is a good idea.  The entire entertainment industry is slow to jump into step and start working on a better way for people to actually pay them for their own product. I hope they figure it out soon.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/02/12 at 05:58 PM ET

VooX's avatar

Using a proxy or VPN which changes your IP address’ location is a work around GameCenter’s blackouts.  Of course, a proxy or VPN capable of speeds for HD (and sometimes only SD) feeds usually require a subscription, adding to the overall expense to watch your local team.

Posted by VooX from Behind the Bar in the Hasek Club Car on 02/02/12 at 05:58 PM ET

tuxedoTshirt's avatar

VooX, you just one the best signature award.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt from the Home of the 1937 World Champions on 02/02/12 at 06:07 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

I have NHL Network AND center ice, yet I still end up missing games that NBC has exclusive rights to broadcast because my local station preempts the broadcast for Indians games. When they deliver as promised, I’ll stop looking for illegal connections to get the content I paid for.  Luckily, my brother has NHL Network and he’s not very creative with his password!

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 02/02/12 at 06:08 PM ET

tuxedoTshirt's avatar

one = won.  Brutal day for typing.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt from the Home of the 1937 World Champions on 02/02/12 at 06:08 PM ET

Forlorn in VA's avatar

Posted by Itrusteddrrahmani from Nyc by way of A2 on 02/02/12 at 03:31 PM ET

Or the fact that you don’t always get the intermission shows, interviews, etc. with Gamecenter.  What’s up with that?  If I have Center Ice, I get all that content, but about 40% of the time I can’t get FSD.  With Gamecenter I can get either feed (provided it isn’t blacked out) but I don’t get the entire broadcast.  It’s ridiculous.

Posted by Forlorn in VA on 02/02/12 at 06:22 PM ET

perfection's avatar

what really pisses me off about the streaming “crackdown” is that for folks like me, who have no TV, no digital antenna, no cable, and no satellite dish, there aren’t legal online alternatives.

I have a digital projector and really fast internet and prefer to get all of my entertainment through the internet. But hockeystreams.com is a great example. See, I ordered NHL Live last year and it’s absurd how many games are blacked out (especially for Red Wings fans… they have to have more national broadcasts than any other team). I wouldn’t get any games on Vs. or the NHL network (which they OWN!!!) or NBC or games against Chicago because that’s where I live and those are “local” and worst of all NO FRIGGIN PLAYOFFS. So what the hell am I paying for?? I ended up also getting hockeystreams.com last year just so I could watch the playoffs and this year just signed up for that again. Granted, the quality and service is completely undependable and I would happily pay more for the NHL’s service if they provided all of the games. It’s the typical bullshit that spawned all of this piracy in the first place. Fact of the matter is that record companies, movie companies, TV networks, and sports leagues, are always one step behind. As digital content became the demand towards the end of the 90’s, rather than embracing the future, harnessing the technology and dictating how the online media marketplace would operate, all of these companies resisted and tried to sue 12 year olds for a decade. And guess what happened? Not only did piracy become rampant, but because of this piracy, an entire generation literally has a different value of media. They don’t think they are stealing anything. And frankly, for stuff like the superbowl that is on network TV and available for free, I don’t either. I mean, it’s one thing if you’re hosting an illegal stream of the superbowl and you cut out the commercials and add in your own, but if you’re hosting the TV broadcast as is, you still have the network’s logo, you still have the ads. it’s essentially the exact same thing as TV… so aside from their lack of technical ability to calculate accurate ratings (which seems more their problem than mine), what exactly is the crime?? who is losing or stealing what exactly?

I was extremely disappointed when I heard the NHL signed a long term contract with NBC/NBC Sports and there was NO mention of modernizing digital distribution. If the NHL Live package is $150 per season with all of the blackouts, I’d gladly pay an additional $50 or $75 to just get every single game. Is that really too much to ask? Even if NBC Sports came out with their own online service where for a fixed cost you got every NBC/NBC Sports hockey game, I’d consider that too to supplement the usual NHL LIve package.

It’s not that I’m all for illegal streaming, but when there’s no other option, that’s what folks like me are forced to turn to. If you’re going to rail against it and try and use agressive legal strong-arming to end it, at least recognize that there IS a market of people who stream sports illegally because there is no legal online alternative.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 02/02/12 at 06:22 PM ET

Guilherme's avatar

The NHL gives me the option to pay $119 (in Brazilian money, more like R$250) to watch maybe 30 or 40 of Wings’ games (time-zone differences, West Coast trips, the simple fact that it’s kind of insane to miss a party or anything to watch hockey)

The other option is to watch it on ESPN, which gives us 2 games a week (only 4 Wings games since November/2010), but they also gave an ultimatum to ESPN, basically saying the discount price they gave the Brazilian network won’t be in the works on their next contract talks, which is saying “enjoy your last NHL season on TV”.

And there’s the other option, which today is illegal, but I’d gladly shell out R$100 to watch just my team.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 02/02/12 at 06:34 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

I hate paying $179 to when I only plan on watching one team.  If they gave fans the chance to pay $40-60 to get just their team, people would be more than happy to get they games they want to watch legitimately.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 02/02/12 at 07:40 PM ET


Screw that.  The day they stop BLACKING OUT every game Ill re up for my sports package.  I subscribed to them and each time my team would play, itd be blacked out in my area.  I have zero pity for the networks or the NHL when theyre operating this way.

Posted by Blades on 02/02/12 at 09:02 PM ET

Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit's avatar

I have Center Ice and have been a subscriber since its inception. I have been gone from Detroit since 1991 so for me, it is the best option.

The cost is well worth it because I can watch all 82 games, and, as an added bonus, I usually have MLB till the All-Star break. Tigers baseball and the Wings for $169.99.

A small price to pay when you add up the cost of attending just one game.

I also watch the rest of the League when the Wings are idle.

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit on 02/02/12 at 09:08 PM ET


I am 450 miles from the closest NHL team and 1200 miles from the only team I follow.  Here are my options:

1. Local Broadcast.  Well, there is none.

2. Travel to the games (not realistic)

3. NHL on NBC.  Great if I liked the Wings, Rangers, Penguins, Capitals, Sharks or Flyers -the only teams they show.  None are teams I care about (and I especially hate SJ).  NBC also has that annoying imbecile Mike Emrick, a man who can make the few games I actually care to see, virtually unwatchable.

4. Satalite and their NHL package: Even with the bare minimum package (which I still do not want) , I am forced to pay for channels in languages I do not speak, religious channels (I am an atheist), Childrens and cartoon channels (I don’t want my kids watching THAT much tv), or any of the dozens of other crap channels they bundle together, in addition to 150 dollars more for hockey, 80-90 percent are games that again, I couldn’t care less about.

5. Cable TV, same as number 3 above.  Add to that the crap which is Versus and it becomes even less appealing.

6. Now with the latest shutdown, I have to resort to one of the Russian pirate broadcasts, risking my computer getting infected by god knows what latest virus and countless pop ups.  Often of course these broadcasts are voiced over in Russian, which makes it sound like Putin himself is doing the play by play.

7. Online broadcsts.  Sometimes good, sometimes not.  Often they are from the Game Center feed, so the intermission reportrs are cut off.  Also, there is no guarantee that you will get the feed from your teams broadcast.  Ever try to listen to listen to your team play the Sharks with their broadcast squad rambling over the top of it?  Pathetically biased, clueless about hockey and just plain irritating.  Those idiots could give Emrick competition for worst broadcasters ever. 

So what happens?  i often listen to the internet radio broadcast which means I either turn it up really loud and leave the room or I am stuck staring at the wall like it was the 1950’s again, trying to visualise what just happened.  Thanks Gary, great f’ing product you put out there and way to reach out to the fans. 

Like several others here have said: If the league (Buttman) would offer it at 40 or 50 $ a season for a license to view your team, I and many others will gladly pay for it.  But noooo….  they make enough off the suckers who pay for the crap to more than cover what they “supposedly” are losing via the internet.

Posted by sean_o_sean on 02/02/12 at 09:34 PM ET


One last thing, I forgot to to add… a few years ago l was in Salt Lake City during the finals.  Found a bar (no, really !) that actually showed hockey.  A couple nights later I went back to see the next game, but the local NBC affiliate didn’t broacdcast it.  Instead they showed their local MLS soccer teams away game.  Pathetic !

Posted by sean_o_sean on 02/02/12 at 09:45 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Posted by Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit on 02/02/12 at 07:08 PM ET

We had Center Ice for 3 years before we dropped it last year.  Loved it, but couldn’t get as much value out of it anymore with everyone being so busy.

The biggest problem?  Center Ice doesn’t get me streamed CI, I have to then pay EXTRA for that.  Why is that?

What if some nights I want to watch on my big TV, and other nights I want to stream it on my Kindle Fire because my wife or kids are watching something else?  Or because I’m somewhere with wifi, but no Center Ice (like a hotel) and want to stream on my laptop?

For being supposedly so tech-friendly, the NHL really has no concept or clue how to embrace it and give people what they want.

Posted by Primis on 02/03/12 at 12:03 AM ET


Why is the government acting as muscle for these thieving cable operators.  The Rangers are blacked out in most of NYC and the Sabres are unavailable because that greedy pig Dolan wants a 53 % increase from Time Warner to carry MSG.  I’m sure Time Warner isn’t innocent either.  Meanwhile the fans are held hostage and never get a rebate for lost games.

Posted by 13 user names on 02/03/12 at 12:36 AM ET

K24's avatar

Here in NYC the Rangers network pulled their channel from Time Warner Cable. I live in an apartment so I can’t change providers, and they black out their games on NHL Network and Center Ice. Streaming is the only way I can watch the games!

Posted by K24 from NYC on 02/03/12 at 03:09 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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