In the past two years there have been many sites related to sports streams that have been shut down and one of the largest was ATDHE.net. A lot of people do not understand why the site was shut down and what happened so we are going to explain what happened to atdhe and why the site is no longer online.
The idea of broadcasting a sporting event online is easily viewed as rebroadcasting which most (if not all) sports events say that you are not allowed to rebroadcast the game without the express written consent from that league. If a site was streaming live games online then it is very clear as to why that type of sports streaming site would get shut down. But athde did not stream games onto the internet. They linked to games. So imagine that internet as a big tv showing many things, athde would be the tv guide and told you where you can go to watch the different live sporting events. There are two views on sharing this information.
The first view is the view of the US government that says linking to sports streams is an act of contributory copyright infringement. This means you are not broadcasting the sports event online, but your actions are helping others to view this illegal rebroadcast. The US government used this as their case for shutting down atdhe.
The second view is from a lot of webmasters and people who watch the sports, and that view is that sharing a link is nothing more than sharing information with people. This view says that they are not rebroadcasting any sporting events so they are not doing anything wrong. They are simply sharing knowledge which is the same thing Google is doing when you search on Google. The main difference here is that Google does not consolidate all the sports links and present them in a concise manner. While a site like athde would find all the links, place them in one location, and let anyone have access to that information.
Which view is correct? Well that depends on who you ask. The site Rojadirecta went to court in Spain (which is where the owners of the site are from) and they won the court case. The ruling said that sharing links was not illegal and the site could operate. But if you are in the United States the rule is that sharing links is not allowed. Because the .com and .net registries are run by American based companies, the US government was able to get them to turn over the domain names of sites which were consolidating sports streaming links on them. The argument or fault that many people found with these actions are twofold. First, there was no due process which is a law in the United States. The US took the domains before they went to court and proved that something illegal was happening here and before the domain owner had a chance to defend themselves. The second issue is that many people feel like because the .net and .com registries are located in the United States, and the US took this action it is as if the US feels that they can censor the internet as they see fit and the internet is really supposed to be a global space and not run or dictated by any one government.
Whichever side of the coin you are on regardless, the result has been a lot of sites shifting to registries that are not run by US corporations. So while the US took down a lot of sports streaming sites, these sites could be back up and running on a different domain extension if they chose to be. This makes the action of the US government seem more harmful than hurtful. And there are many US taxpayers wondering why the ICE division of the government is spending their tax dollars in this way versus spending it on chasing more serious items. There are many articles condemning the lobbying of the sports industry to the government which they feel resulted in these domain name seizures.