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IIHF chooses to delay YouTube streams to punish shameful geo-blocking cheats

I have issues with the IIHF. I don’t believe that it’s really an international ice hockey federation as much as it is an organization which represents and champions the best interests of Europe’s money-making hockey leagues and the World Championships and Olympics as they pertain to revenue-making for the Swiss-based organization.

The IIHF has a chairman in Rene “the Dentist” Fasel who can make Gary Bettman seem warm, down-to-earth and media-friendly, they have all but an antagonistic relationship with North American hockey, and they’re the kind of organization that has literally suggested that its rules for the Roman alphabet’s interpetation of Cyrillic phonetic characters, which change “Fedorov” to “Fyodorov,” “Kovalev” to “Kovalyov” and “Kulemin” to “Kuloymin” (as determined by the University of Zurich, of course), are so “correct” that the interpretations deemed most right in 2011 should be adopted by everyone from the KHL to the NHL on a retroactive basis.

Arrogant? Just a little bit, and as such, I can’t tell you that the IIHF’s latest foray into finger-wagging is as amusing as anything else they’ve done: today, the IIHF announced that their YouTube streams of World Championship games, which are only accessible in countries that do not have broadcast agreements for the Worlds, would be delayed by 30 minutes to “discourage” residents of Russia, Sweden, Finland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Norway, etc. and of course Canada and the U.S. from using fake IP’s to watch their broadcasts:

ZUG, Switzerland – Infront Sports & Media, exclusive media and marketing partner to the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), has announced today to stop live coverage of the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship via the official YouTube channel with immediate effect. Starting with the first round game Canada vs. Switzerland, the free YouTube coverage of all future games will be delayed by 30 minutes.

The dedicated channel at http://www.youtube.com/icehockey provided fans throughout the world so far with high-quality and free-of-charge live video streams of all games of the tournament. Today’s step was taken to prevail illegal attempts to access the streaming countries that were geoblocked due to exclusive contracts. Selected users managed to surpass the existing copyright and geoblocking mechanisms and encourage other YouTube users to follow. To address these infringements Infront has now decided to delay the YouTube coverage by 30 minutes.

Bruno Marty, Excecutive Director Wintersports, said: “We deeply regret that we have to take this step, in particular for all the ice hockey followers out there who just want to enjoy the games online on YouTube. However, we currently see no other option to protect the existing media rights agreements with our broadcast partners, as some so called fans decided not to play fair and to illegally surpass existing copyright and geoblocking mechanism.”

In other words, those who’ve found ways around YouTube’s “geo-blocking” settings have ruined it for everyone, so the rest of the world will just have to read the Twitter and web updates of what’s happening in games and just be patient.

[sarcasm] This will, of course, totally discourage the rest of the world from visiting the same semi-legal websites that are streaming TV feeds of the games online—because, obviously, if you can’t watch the game by fooling YouTube with a fake IP address, you’re going to give up and just wait an extra half hour to actually witness what the teams you’re rooting for have accomplished on the ice with your own ice—and I’m sure that everyone who’s violated the IIHF’s policies are feeling very guilty for forcing the benevolent organization which only cares about “what’s best” for hockey, and not the business thereof, to punish everyone, which, let’s be honest, is only fair.[/sarcasm]

Typical IIHF. They’re as predictable and sophomoric as Ron MacLean’s use of borderline inappropriate metaphors.

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jimathor's avatar

This is a bigger rant for a different site on a different day, but the stupidity of damn near every major company on the internet is continually staggering.

“You were watching this in a means that suited you. Boo You. Now you’ve spoiled it for everyone”.

Good luck with that. We’ll be getting ours for free somewhere else whilst they’re all still naval gazing.

Posted by jimathor from The land of Sir Humblepatch of Bumblehound on 05/10/12 at 12:33 AM ET


The English equivalent of ‘Fedorov” would be “Theodore-son”. But who cares?

Yes Sergei and Jose have the same last name.

Posted by Alex on 05/10/12 at 12:51 AM ET


This is similar to doubling the length of unskippable, government-sponsored anti-infringement propaganda before new movies (starting this year), and infecting PCs via “music” CDs (Sony BMG, 2005); they are ostensibly designed to curb copyright infringement, but all they do is hurt legitimate users.

Posted by bleep bloop on 05/10/12 at 07:42 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

That’s exactly what I was thinking—that this is like record companies saying, “Gee, we’re really happy that you just spent $13-20 for a CD, thanks, but yeah, we’re a little worried about MP# sharing, so if you’re one of the rarer and rarer breed who still buys music at retail prices, we’re going to prevent you from attempting to access what you just bought without using invasive programs that kinda make your music sound crappy on your computer, and if you want to back up that CD? Buy another one!”

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/10/12 at 08:40 AM ET

Dakkster's avatar

Geoblocking is retarded. Same as releasing movies on different days in different countries. The media companies wonder why there is piracy. Go figure…

Posted by Dakkster from Southern Sweden on 05/10/12 at 04:00 PM ET

rrasco's avatar

This just pisses me off to no end. Do you know WHY people are doing this? Because NBC bought the rights to the US broadcasts, which means they blocked the US from the YT streams, and then NBC turned around and didn’t show any *#$%@& games except the US. So, now, the ‘so called fans’ are not playing fairly because they are using the ONLY means there is to watch the games? *#$%@& YOU *#$%@&!

Posted by rrasco from TEXAS on 05/10/12 at 04:42 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.