As the 26th highest grossing movie producer of all time, Ryan Kavanaugh has dealt with his share of critics and trolls. Even so, the founder of Proximity Media and Relativity Media and co-founder of Triller could never have anticipated the malicious backlash he would receive from Ethan Klein and H3 Productions. Klein, a podcast host, YouTube personality, and owner of H3 Productions, lashed out after Kavanaugh and Triller Fight Group tried to hold him accountable for proven piracy.
Piracy and Pay Per View Live Sports
As a Triller shareholder, Kavanaugh has a vested interest in helping the company secure and broadcast revenue-generating events. This is exactly what happened last spring when Kavanaugh worked with Triller Fight Group management to obtain the rights to broadcast a live boxing match between Jake Paul and Ben Askren. After months of hard work and millions of dollars invested in the boxing match, Triller Fight Group premiered the event on April 17, 2021.
Kavanaugh and Triller management knew what to expect in terms of revenue and views because they had successfully broadcast a boxing match between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones, Jr. in November 2020. When their revenue projections and paid views fell fall short of predictions, they knew immediately that several people had pirated the fight without paying the $49.99 fee. They just never expected to discover that Ethan Klein diverted more than four million paid views away from Triller Fight Group, costing it more than $100 million in the process.
Klein was not the only one who committed piracy against Triller, but most others were single individuals who paid the fee when presented with evidence of what they had done. He was in a league of his own regarding how much he stole and his actions after receiving Triller’s lawsuit.
Intellectual Property Rights of Online Entertainment Companies
Ryan Kavanaugh likens Triller protecting its intellectual property the same way a brick and mortar store would. The only difference is the methods used to acquire the protection. Physical stores typically use security cameras, security guards, and safes to protect inventory from theft. Unfortunately, it is easier for online thieves to steal the hard work and content of others despite the protection the intellectual property owner has in place. The onus is usually on the victim to prove that piracy has occurred, as Kavanaugh quickly discovered when reporting Klein’s theft to YouTube.
Klein’s Behavior After the Piracy is Even More Troubling
When confronted with proof of his piracy, Klein initially appeared willing to cooperate to resolve the matter and then quickly changed his mind. He decided to engage in malicious attacks and smear campaigns against Kavanaugh and Triller instead. From posting videos full of false information to redirecting Kavanaugh’s website traffic to his own website, Klein somehow decided that he was the victim and not Kavanaugh and Triller. His actions quickly escalated, including egging on his millions of YouTube and podcast followers to lie about and threaten Kavanaugh along with him.
Ryan Kavanaugh decided he had enough on November 30, 2021 and filed a personal lawsuit against Klein and H3 Productions.