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One Way to Avoid Copyright Takedown: Pretend the Fight You’re Streaming Is a Video Game

Photo: Lester_Gaming/Twitch

Over the weekend, UFC 218 captivated millions of viewers with punches and kicking and yelling, I assume (I’ve never seen an entire UFC fight). If you wanted to watch it, however, you had to pony up: The event could only be seen via pay-per-view. Or at least, that was the only way to watch it legally.

For any major broadcast event, it’s not hard to find illegal streams online. If you wanted to watch UFC 218, for instance, you could find it on Twitch, streamed by streamer A.J. Lester, otherwise known as lester_gaming. A clip of him playing the game as one might a video game went viral on Twitter yesterday.

The same clip, captioned “UFC 3 has great graphics,” racked up more than 600,000 views on the streaming service (“UFC 3” refers to EA’s third UFC video game). “I sat on 2000 followers for five years, and now that viral video has boosted me up like crazy,” Lester said, according to Eurogamer.

Rather than an effort to avoid the copyright police, as the viral tweet claims, Lester’s pantomime might have just been a gag. The game is filed under Twitch’s “IRL” category, rather than under the game title he’s supposedly mimicking, which would be an easier way for people to find it. Other clips from the stream show him watching the fight as one normally would, and even appearing to fall asleep for a bit.

Still, in an era of stunning photo-realism in video games, it’s a convincing gag — one that UFC probably isn’t too happy about.

How to Avoid Copyright Holders: Pretend It’s a Video Game