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Drones live-streaming action deemed illegal by UK racetracks

Drones live-streaming action deemed illegal by UK racetracks

On Friday, David Armstrong, the chief executive of the Racecourse Association, issued a strong warning that a new service of drones live-streaming action from UK racetracks is “breaking the law”, and that the RCA “will not allow that to carry on”.

Drones live-streaming action deemed illegal by UK racetracks

The company that is believed to be responsible for using drones to live-stream the action from the racetracks is FoxFly.

The drones are able to provide action from the racetracks with little or no delay, providing an important advantage to the punters betting in-running on the Betfair betting exchange, over backers who are watching the event on Raving TV or Sky Sports Racing, reports The Guardian.

On Thursday FoxFly tweeted “live aerial streaming service from all racecourses from Monday 15th February”, with “the quickest and best pictures guaranteed”. Followed by another tweet that announced that the “will only be available to 10 people who are willing to travel to our offices”.

Reportedly, anybody interested in these drone live-stream services would be charged between £100 and £200 per day.

The use of drones to live-stream action from the racetracks is not illegal, however, that might change now that this live-stream is offered as a paid-for-service.

FoxFly Ltd will be offering a LIVE AERIAL STREAMING SERVICE from all Racecourses from Monday 15th February, anyone interested please get in contact. We have the quickest and best pictures guaranteed. [pic.twitter.com/SxJgcsPE9X]

— FoxFly (@FoxFly11) [February 11, 2021] The tweet has since been removed.

“It’s interesting when somebody advertises that they’re going to be breaking the law,” Armstrong said on Friday, “and obviously we’ve seen that and referred it to our own legal advisors and to the police.

“The most important thing is that it’s a breach of IP [intellectual property] and our media rights, and we won’t sit back and allow that to carry on.

“We work very closely with the police who help us to enforce the rules at any individual raceday, we get great support from them and we appreciate that, but to the extent that there is piracy of our media feeds, that is more of a civil offense so we have to follow all the options open to us.

“We’ve been trying to cut it out and there has been some success. Some arrests have been made and we work jointly with the Irish on this matter as well, but it feels like you’re pushing water uphill at some times. But when they start advertising via Twitter or whatever, that they’re offering this service, that’s a step too far.”

Michael McCool runs FoxFly from an office in Melton Mowbray and he had claimed to be responsible for half the drones that are flown around the racetracks in the United Kingdom. He claims however that his service is perfectly legal.

“We have obviously looked into this quite extensively, and it’s my image [from the drone] if I wish to sell that,” McCool said. “If I went beside a racecourse and I filmed the picture of their screen, then I would be filming their production and that would be illegal because I would be stealing their image “But whenever I record an image with my drone from a public space, then that image is mine, and mine alone. So the legality of it and the facts of the matter are that I can use that picture for whatever purpose I want.”

The near-zero latency of drones live-streaming the action from the racetracks is what gives in-running punters a massive advantage over other people who place bets on these events.

Regular TV services have around one second of a delay in broadcasting the footage. The latency of broadcasting services such as Sky Sports Racing can be as much as a couple of seconds.

Drones live-streaming action deemed illegal by UK racetracks

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