More and more people seem to be doing away with their cable bills in favor of alternative, lower cost means of enjoying their favorite programs.  The catch seems to be that without cable (and arguably even with cable), watching your favorite sports teams is not easy enough.  In response to the lack of broadcasted sports, some internet users turn to the supply of live streaming sports content on the internet to fulfill the demand.  Unfortunately internet based sports streaming is on the frontier of a developing legal landscape and is therefore not yet fully vetted.  As a result many streaming sport websites’ legality may be in question.  This article a basic primer on the subject of the legality of internet based live sports steaming, including free sports streaming and fee based streaming sports.

Due to ongoing litigation in this area, the current laws may be subject to future change.  Therefore it is difficult to make a lasting definitive statement about the exact rules and penalties, except to say that violations can result in confiscation/forfeit of websites, fines and possible prison time.  Arrests for this type of crime are common.  The ICE website regularly posts press releases following successful arrest and seizure actions.

To the sports fans this probably seems a little unfair.  However the United States (US) laws are in place to restrict the rebroadcast and/or republication of sports including via internet streaming sports websites for the protection of the country’s citizens.  The basic intention of these restrictions is to protect legitimate domestic-based businesses from being deprived of earned revenue (and therefore federally taxable income) and to protect the domestic workers who are employed at those respective legal companies from being deprived of jobs due to lost revenue.  These protections are basically similar to those guarding against knockoff consumer goods such as music, pharmaceuticals, software, ladies handbags, movies, etc.  The sports content belongs to those entities which pay for the contractual rights to that content.  Using their content in the form of fee based or free sports streaming without their permission is considered equivalent to stealing and is therefore against the law.  More specifically, the US government’s National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) guards against global intellectual property (IP) theft such as other countries stealing US generated sports content IP and then rebroadcasting that same streaming sports content without compensation of the actual IP owner.

This may come as a surprise but a second aim of the US government is reportedly protection of the safety of US citizens.  Online piracy is reportedly linked to organized crime (http://www.iprcenter.gov/).  In other words by partaking in an international sport stream (apparently free or fee based), you may be either directly or indirectly funding organized crime.

In other countries where the intellectual property (IP) laws may be less restrictive and other related laws are different than those US laws, those countries’ domestic legal environments may be such that there is no penalty within that country for IP infringements that are illegal within the United States.  The potential exists for the internet to present the consumer with exposure to online website based services such as live streaming sports that may be unrestricted in the country where that website is registered but not legal in your respective country.

Domestically, US laws govern both fee based and free sport stream industries operating domestically within the US.  US copyright law aims to prevent copyright infringement in the form of streaming (i.e., rebroadcasting) licensed material without the expressed written consent of the license holder.  The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a currently shelved bill is a relatively controversial bill that has not yet become legislation but reportedly is anticipated to be re-tooled to resurface in the future.  The SOPA bill is intended to augment U.S. law enforcement’s ability to crack down on online websites that infringe on established copyrights (e.g., rebroadcasting of copyrighted telecasts of major league sporting events) and on websites that traffic counterfeit goods . In general terms, the SOPA bill would include the expansion of law enforcement’s ability to crack down on online streaming sports websites that participate in online piracy. More specifically the SOPA bill would 1) prevent advertising networks and payment services from conducting business with violators; 2) prevent search engines from linking to violators; 3)  require internet service providers to block access to violators; 4) increase penalties for unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content (e.g., up to five years in prison for ten offenses within a six month period).  SOPA is considered controversial because it can be interpreted as a violation of free speech, which if passed could result in widespread internet censorship. Furthermore critics of the bill suggest that SOPA would bypass the protections from liability presently afforded to websites.  At the time that this article was written (06-13-13), the SOPA bill has not been enacted.  It is anticipated that future similar bills will be proposed.

 

The United States agencies that are primarily responsible for enforcement of the applicable laws include Homeland Security Investigation (HSI), US Immigration and Customs Enforcements (ICE) and the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center).  Law enforcement partners (there are too many to list) include but are not limited to:  the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the Department of Commerce.

This article should be considered basic information only.  This article should not be considered legal advisement.  Please carefully consider your actions and where necessary consult legal council before taking any questionable action.  There are some obvious basic do’s and don’ts of sports streaming that may help the reader stay out of trouble and are incompletely listed as follows:

  1. DON’T Rebroadcast copyrighted sports.
  2. DON’T administer a website that rebroadcasts copyrights sports without verifiable expressed written consent of the content originator.
  3. DON’T administer nor use a “linking” site that links to streaming sources.
  4. DON’T subscribe to websites that do not accept credit cards.  Not accepting credit card payment for fee based websites is a common indicator that a site is not legitimate and may in fact be a malicious web site.
  5. DON’T subscribe to internationally based sports streaming websites where there is any reason to suspect that the site may fund organized crime or other malicious organizations.  Note:  It is most likely not obvious when a site funds an illicit group.
  6. DON’T trust sites that include obviously misspelled words.  Misspelled words are a common indicator of a malicious web site.
  7. DON’T trust websites where the domain name is similar to but not a match for a trusted website.  Domain names can be structured to appear like a known and trusted site but in fact be a malicious imitation site.
  8. DO be wary of sites that are established in foreign countries where the laws differ from domestic laws on the subject of intellectual property and copyright.  In some countries outside of the US the re-broadcasting of non-domestically licensed sports broadcast content may not be specifically illegal in that country.  Because the internet is an international entity, what is legal in one country and therefore accessible via the internet (i.e., the world wide web), is not a good indication that the website is technically legal in your home country or more importantly harmful to the country.
  9. DO take the time to educate yourself on internet security.  This is for your safety, the safety of your countrymen and the economic health of your country.
  10. DO check with the content originator’s trusted website (i.e., the sports league site) to see if the re-broadcasting website is listed as an authorized content distributor.
  11. DO steer well clear of legally grey areas.

 

Some examples of sites that reportedly have legal sports streaming arrangements include CBS and ESPN (with a valid cable subscription).  These provide a place from which you can start sports live streaming legally.  As this website matures, links will be added to websites that can prove to be legal sports streaming sources with both pay and no-fee content offerings.  For more detailed information on streaming sports, please check the links at the end of this article.  Legally grey areas do seem to exist but they are beyond the scope of this basic informative article.  Experienced legal council should be consulted for those who are interested in operating in legally grey areas.

Associated Links:

  1. Fordam Law School IP blog:  www.IPLJ.net/blog/archieves/4355
  2. Governing body:  www.ICE.gov
  3. Governing body:  www.IPRCenter.gov
  4. SOPA:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SOPA
  5. http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr3261

US TV NOW – Live Stream Network Television

US TV now (www.ustvnow.com) is a free internet based, cable service provider free, live streaming network television service. The unique thing about US TV Now is that you do not need to have an active contract with a cable service provider in order to access the live stream. Instead, US TV Now is effectively the cable service content provider. US TV Now offers a free base package that includes six network channels: CBS, ABC, Fox, CW, NBC and PBS. Because CBS, ABC, Fox and NBC regularly broadcast major sporting events you therefore have access to live network televised sporting events.

If you desire a greater number of channels, you can subscribe to a package that includes many additional channels such as ESPN. The enhanced subscription includes a fee of approximately $20 to $30 (for different degrees of content) which may be off putting to some who are looking only for free streaming however the price is comparably less than a cable subscription to the same content.

The quality of the stream is not high definition but it is relatively good quality.

Wi-Fi Need for Speed When Streaming Sports

Wifi speed maintenance:

It goes without saying that it’s unpleasant to either lose your signal or the quality of your picture right in the middle of the big live football game. To that end, this article is dedicated to the technology that you need to comfortably live stream sport events.

Allegedly you only need about 5 to 6 Mbps of actual download speeds for comfortably streaming sport. (Note: Streaming HD may require a little more). I pay my internet service provider for 30 Mbps high speed internet service. When I made the decision to purchase this plan, I thought 30 Mbps speed internet service would mean that I am capable of getting 30 Mbps internet service, regularly. Unfortunately 30 Mbps is a theoretical maximum that is limited by various factors. Many of these factors are listed later in this article.

I regularly use simple diagnostic websites to test/verify the wireless speeds in my home. Unfortunately rather than 30 Mbps, my speeds tend to be somewhere between 0.75 Mbps and 6 Mbps which is only a fraction of the speed that I pay for! Sometimes the speed isn’t enough to stream TV online such as Netflix. Slow speed internet service and/or wi-fi makes for a brutal free sports stream experience. Slow speeds make for grainy/garbled picture/sound, buffering and timing out. This can be pretty discouraging when you are trying to enjoy a little free sports streaming. The bottom line is…you cannot enjoy streaming free online sports unless you get your home’s wireless service in shape. Fortunately it’s not that expensive, nor really that difficult to do so. If I can figure it out then so can you. I have no particular talent for computer network administration, web based portals or information technology. Trust me — you can do it too.

The remainder of this article’s content is the most basic information that I have been able to distill down to relatively humane terms on how to help make sure your wifi is performing fast enough and reliable enough for a pleasurable live sports streaming experience.

First, why isn’t the wifi working well enough? Here are some basic reasons why your Wi-Fi isn’t meeting your expectations:
A. You are paying for wireless service that is too slow.
B. Your wireless router is not rated for the speed that you need.
C. Your wireless viewing device is too far from your wireless router.
D. Your wireless router’s signal is impaired by brick/masonry/concrete walls in your home.
E. Somebody else is using your unsecured Wi-Fi and consuming your band width.
F. Someone else has hacked into your secured Wi-Fi and consuming your band width (and is probably trying to steal everything saved on your devices).
G. Your wireless router is set to a less than 100% power output setting.
H. Wireless Interference, e.g.: Brick/concrete walls, microwaves, cordless phones, other wireless routers using the same “channel”.
I. Internet service provider has throttled your service down to less than what you are paying for.
J. Your cable has a splitter in it and the splitter isn’t working well.
K. The cable regulator that feeds your building needs to be fixed or replaced.

Here’s what to do about it:
1. Call your internet service provider. Ask them what speed you are paying for. Also ask them what Mbps speed your wi-fi router is rated for. Your internet service provider probably has a company policy to try to annoy you into hanging up so that they don’t have to bother with your needs but it’s important to know what you are paying for so you must follow through on this key step. In order to watch streaming sports online, you’ll need reliable 6 Mbps download service (from experience, I believe 6 Mbps is the minimum). You’ll also need a wireless router that is rated to deliver at least the rated speed of service that you are paying for. In order to get that reliably, I find that you’ll need considerably more than the desired speed Mbps rating. It seems like paying for internet service that is rated to be at least twice the required speed (i.e., 6 Mbps x 2 = 12 Mbps, minimum) is about the minimum that you’ll need to pay for. If you plan to have multiple devices consuming band with simultaneously then you had better pay for service that is 3 x 6 = 18 Mbps, minimum.

2. Test the speed of your wireless signal vs. what you are paying the internet service provider for. Use www.speedtest.net for this. If, on your wireless device, you check the download speeds that you are achieving via speedtest.net and the speed is equal to what the cable company tells you your are paying for then stop reading and go back to watching sports. If the speed is significantly less than what you are supposed to have (and what you need) then read on.

3. If possible, use a local area network (LAN) to hard-connect a laptop to one of ports on your wireless router. Retest the speed via the hardwired laptop using www.speedtest.net. If the speed is still slow then the issue is with the internet service provider. If the hard wire connection speed is fast then the issue is with your local area wireless network. You’ll need to do some basic troubleshooting as described later in this article.

4. Your wireless viewing device is too far from your wireless router. Distance as well as some substantial physical obstructions (e.g., concrete or brick walls) can impair the signal speed. Re-locate the wireless router near the center of your home/apartment where your devices are generally located/used.

5. Your wireless router’s signal is impaired by brick/masonry/concrete walls in your home. There are a bunch of solutions to this. I find that a wi-fi repeater (e.g., I use two TRENDnet TPL-406E) does the trick. It’s a neat technology that re-purposes your home’s electrical wiring as an internet signal wire. The technology is very easy to install. There are two identical looking small plug in components. They both get plugged into electrical outlets in two separate areas of your home. One gets plugged in near your wireless router; You also need to connect this device via a LAN cable to your wireless router. The second device (i.e., the receiver) gets plugged in in your wireless deadzone. You also need to plug the receiver into a second wireless router (i.e., I use the ZyXEL model MWR102 which is about the size of a small stack of credit cards and rather fast) that will rebroadcast the signal.

6. Somebody else is using your unsecured Wi-Fi and consuming your band width. Secure your wi-fi man! Most wi-fi routers come equipped with a built in default password, all you have to do is go with that to deter most outside band with competitors. If you bought and setup your own router, then you’ll need to make sure that the web based router interface (instructions for accessing that later in this article) under the “security settings” has a security setting (e.g., WPA) selected; then you need to enter your own password. That helps keep the bad guys and freeloaders out. Another possibility is that the bandwidth hog is someone you know. If you know who the person is (e.g., family member or roommate), then ask them to stop cramping your style. You need to watch the game! It’s very important.

7. Consider the fact that it could be you, or your things. Wireless Interference from other wireless items like microwaves, cordless phones, other wireless routers using the same “channel”, you other wireless devices (e.g., cell phones, iPads, Kindles, iRobots, etc.). These things either reduce speed through interference as in the case with 2.4 mHz cordless telephones or neighboring wifi routers cause interference. Naturally the other wireless devices simply consume band with on account of watching youtube, etc. If it’s you, then you probably need two things: 1) more spare capacity in the speed of your internet service Mbps speed; 2) There are wireless routers that function on 5 MHz frequency rather than the more common 2.4 MHz wireless frequency that is shared with most cordless phones. Also if you have a wireless signal repeater system with multiple wirless routers broadcasting then you will want to make sure they are setup on different broadcasting channels.

8. If you’ve ruled out all of the above, it’s possible that someone else has hacked into your secured Wi-Fi and consuming your band width (and is probably trying to steal everything saved on your devices). I’ve wanted to believe this a number of times but I’ve yet to catch those elusive hackers. You see, I can tell because I’ve downloaded a free iPhone app, called Fing, that simply shows me a list of all wireless devices that are connected to my wi-fi. I can easily run down the list and tell which ones are my Roku, Apple TV, iPad, iPhones, Kindle Fire, etc. If ever there were a rouge freeloader, I think the next move is to open the window of my city apartment and shout out a loud and intrusive expletive for the whole neighborhood to hear. Then I would go and change the wireless password, etc. Another trick is, through the web based wireless router interface, change the settings to not broadcast your service set identification (SSID). It’s easy to make this adjustment. All you have to do is remember your SSID and password so that you can key it in blindly once in each of your wireless devices memory under settings | Wi-Fi | Choose a Network | Other….Some people even go so far as to turn off their wireless when they are not home under the belief that if the Wi-Fi is not turned on then the hackers will focus on other wireless networks rather than your seemingly non-existent one. It also saves a little on electricity cost, which is a plus. I don’t go quite that far but I know people that do and they don’t seem to appear to be inconvenienced by this approach. If this is an avenue that you wish to try out but the you think that turning the system on and off will be a bother then you might consider using a simple programmable lamp timer to do the job for you.

In order to change your network’s service set identifier (SSID) & hide it (a.k.a., Disable it; method varies by make and model): Login (i.e., http:// insert your DNS No. here) then enter a new SSID name in the wireless tab | Disable Wireless SSID broadcast setting | Save Settings | Reconnect each wi-fi computer to the network with the new name.

9. Your wireless router is set to a less than 100% power output setting. Wireless routers actually give you the option of 100%, 90%, 80%, 70%, 60%, 50%, 40%, 30%, 20%, 10%, etc. I suppose this is to save on electricity, but at what price to your quality of life? This is not difficult to fix. Just log into your wi-fi router and change the setting through the web based portal (note different routers have different levels of complexity).

Router Login Procedure:
I usually use my iphone as the diagnostic tool to tell me what router I am using since it automatically connects to any networks where it already knows the password or where it’s unsecured.

Settings | Wi-Fi | Your Router Name | i | Router No.
http://Router No. (e.g., ###.###.#.#, where each “#” is one of the digits in your router IP address)
This will bring you to a web based portal.
I have an ARRIS router which requires a username (default: admin) and password (default: password). You can and should change the user name and login because these generic names leave you highly vulnerable to hackers who can tell what device you have just by looking at the generic SSID that your router broadcasts (unless you change your settings). Up until recently my internet service provider did not allow customers to log into their routers and revise settings. Thankfully they do now. If your internet service provider does not allow you to login to the wireless settings then one work around is to get a new wireless router, connect it to the one that your internet service provider provided and call the internet service provider to ask them to put the modem in into “bridge mode”.

10. Internet service provider has throttled your service down to less than what you are paying for. This is not cool but it a fact of life. The internet service provider must do this at times of high volume to prevent the whole system from failing.

11. Your cable has a splitter in it and the splitter isn’t working well. Sometimes wire splice connections do not perform well. For example dust can impair these cables. Try to minimize the number of cable connectors and splitters that you use as each one introduces the possibility of reducing speeds.

12. The cable regulator that feeds your building needs to be fixed or replaced. These are components that can break. If they break then they need to be replaced. In so far as I know, the only way to tell if these items are not functioning correctly is to call your internet service provider and ask them to check it. Usually only the tier 3 support will be able to tell you the status of this.

13. If all else fails, then maybe you should consider starting a class action lawsuit against your internet service provider for providing service that does not meet the speed of service that you are paying for. Just kidding. Although the internet service providers of the world could stand to perform better we need them so let’s not do anything that could put them out of business.

Additional troubleshooting to try when wireless doesn’t work:
- Restart the wireless router and devices
- Use compressed air can to clean dusty cable connections and wireless router and cable connections (dust reportedly reduces speeds).
- Try a different wireless router Wi-Fi channel. There are tools for this however trial and error may work almost as well.
- Contact the internet service provider to give them a piece of your mind
- Get a portable Clear Spot 4G wireless hot spot device and use it as a backup. These things generally cost about $20/month for a limited data plan.

Computer issues that could cause slow internet:
- Delete cookies and temporary internet files on slow devices
- Run anit-virus software
I hope that this information was helpful in providing a few technology tips to facilitate you on your way to easy live streaming online free TV, live TV, live soccer, online football, other sports games, etc.. The objective of this website is to circulate the best possible current information for the benefit of sports watchers like you as well as legal sports websites and legal streaming sites that allow you to watch free online sports. If you have any information that you believe is of value to this effect then please let us know by posting a comment so that we can improve. Thank you!

References:
1. Wiki How: http://m.wikihow.com/Make-Your-Wireless-Internet-Connection-Faster-(Comcast)
2. Computerworld.com: http://m.computerworld.com/s/article/9112462/Wi_Fi_tweaks_for_speed_freaks?mm_ref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F

TNT Overtime – Sport Live Stream

TNT Overtime broadcasts live sports stream feed of various NBA regular and post season games.

The service can be found at the following link:

http://tntovertime.nba.com/

The TNT live stream sound and picture quality are clear, non-garbled, and non-grainy.

The viewing experience allows you to choose your camera angle from a number of attractive options including: the usual action cam, a four screen mosaic viewer, two separate player cams (one for each team, both by popular vote), and a backboard cam. Basically the viewing experience is more flexible than watching the game on television.

There are some minor drawbacks. Switching between camera angles involves a second delay which isn’t great but fine once you know not to change the camera angle during the action. There is also a slight delay in the sound when you switch between camera angles.
I was able to use airplay from my iPad to project the image to my television screen , albeit with some reduced performance.

NCAA March Madness Live – Free Sports Streaming

NCAA March Madness Live:

http://www.ncaa.com/march-madness-live/

This is a free live sports streaming broadcasting service that can be used for watching college basketball during the NCAA tournament. The service is free of charge and is available to anyone via the website and/or via the iPhone/iPad application.

Like to watch sports and streaming TV online? March Madness is enough on its own but this site has more to offer. It has standings, articles, features, a gamecenter score banner, highlights and even streaming video replays of some full games from pretty much any NCAA sport that you can imagine. Where was this when I was in college? Maybe it’s better this didn’t exist because we’d have probably watched our own small time highlights over and over rather than study for classes. Needless to say, the sports site is really great.