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  1. 1. A Novel Negotiation Between Copyright Holder and Illegal File-sharer. Case Study: HDNet and ROHBrazil. Authors: Andy Connolly [AC] 09001950 Danny Bride [DB] 09001985 Davis Gould-Duff [DGD] 09007494
  2. 2. Introduction (ALL) This paper concerns an agreement between cable company HDNet and YouTube user 'ROHBrazil'. HDNet owned the broadcast rights to 'ROH on HDNet', a weekly wrestling show available on cable in some parts of the USA and Canada. They discovered that YouTube user ROHBrazil had been illegally uploading the weekly show on his YouTube channel. As a result, HDNet issued a copyright notice to YouTube which removed the offending videos. ROHBrazil contacted management at HDNet and argued that he was only providing a service for Ring of Honor fans around the world to whom HDNet was unavailable. Suprisingly, HDNet agreed to let the show be uploaded on two day delay. This arrangement continued for over a year before coming to an abrupt halt due to a change in management. There are three core agents in this network, user ROHBrazil (researched by AC), cable company HDNet (DB) and video sharing site YouTube (DGD). These three entities force the majority of action in our case study but are further complicated by other agents. We extrapolate these to be: Ring of Honor (AC), Xtreme Wrestling Torrents (DGD), Ring of Honor fans (AC), Wrestling forums (DGD) and the online Wrestling Media (DB), all framed somewhat by the wider culture of professional wrestling itself (DB). Introduction to actors (human and non-human) and their interactions in the controversy (ALL) ROHBrazil We define ROHBrazil as one of three core agents in our case study. His initiative propels the narrative and it is his dedication that ensures the success of the arrangement. He is a wrestling fan and receives no monetary reward for his actions. Interactions – Downloads torrent of ROH on HDNet from Xtreme Wrestling Torrents – Uploads to YouTube – Communicates with HDNet management, complies with copyright requests – Communicates with ROH fans on YouTube HDNet As copyright owners it is HDNet who would seem to wield most power in the actions of the network. As no official statement on the deal with ROHBrazil was ever forthcoming we can only speculate as to their motivations in this arrangement. Interactions – Instructs YouTube to remove copyrighted content from ROHBrazil's channel – Enters into negotiations with ROHBrazil, deal agreed YouTube The responsibility for action on copyright infringement lies with YouTube and it is they who remove content. They have a two way relationship with the copyright holder (HDNet) and could be said to act on their behalf. There is no such reciprocal relationship with ROHBrazil beyond sending copyright infringement notices. Interactions
  3. 3. – Hosts ROHBrazil's channel – Acts on behalf of HDNet in removing copyrighted material Ring of Honor (ROH) Ironically, the product creators, i.e. Ring of Honor, have little or no impact on the core actions in our case study. Copyright issues for the show in question were solely the responsibility of HDNet. However, they are responsible for creating the demand for the actions of ROHBrazil and their underground status greatly contributes to the fervour of their fans. Interactions – Provides content for broadcast on HDNet – Communicates with fans via website and forum Ring of Honor Fans We see the majority of ROH fans are young, male and web literate. They align themselves with the underground movement of independent wrestling and this contributes greatly to their renowned fervour and passion. Interactions - Centred around message boards and comments on YouTube Xtreme Wrestling Torrents A free private members forum which hosts illegally uploaded wrestling related material, sometimes mere hours after an event has been broadcast on TV or PPV. Interactions - ROHBrazil sources download of ROH on HDNet from this site Wrestling Forums These sites facilitate fan interaction and dissemination of information pertaining to wrestling events and culture. Popular examples include F4Wonline, Death Valley Driver and the Ring of Honor forums. Interactions – Source of diffusion of news about ROHBrazil's channel and wrestling in general, ROHBrazil receives much support from the forum community Wrestling Media Largely based online, reports on wrestling shows, opinions on wrestlers or situations, much emphasis on reporting of viewer numbers for TV and PPV buy-rates. Interactions – No interaction with core agents of network but responsible for breaking news of matters pertaining to ROH, increasing the visibility of the promotion, thus increasing demand for the product. To aid our research we developed maps attempting to visually portray the actors and interactions.
  4. 4. Fig 1. The shared space of production and consumption... Fig 2. Flow of interactions emanating from ROHBrazil...
  5. 5. The Wrestling Fan Network – Unpacking a Subculture and its Effect on the Network (DB) Some of the main the motivations behind this network are closely linked, to or borne of, the culture and conventions of professional wrestling. We begin this section with a short glossary of terms from this culture. • Kayfabe – a code of conduct requiring those in the wrestling business to remain 'in character' in public life. The most important element of kayfabe was to never divulge that the matches had predetermined outcomes and was a legitimate sporting contest. This policy is now largely defunct, though residual elements remain. • Carny – of the carnival folk, often used in a derogatory fashion. • WWWF/WWF – Original name for WWE, most popular wrestling organisation in the world. • World Class Wrestling – Popular wrestling promotion in the 70s/early 80s, now defunct. • Tag-team – Team of two wrestlers. • IWC – Internet Wrestling Community, often linked to 'smarks', below. • Smark – vague term applied to knowledgeably critical fans, notorious for being 'hard to please', often used in derogatory fashion though equally often worn as badge of honour. • Vince McMahon – owner of WWE, totemic figure in the wrestling landscape, generally considered the most powerful man in American wrestling. • Chris Benoit – professional wrestler for WWE who attained notoriety in 2008 for murdering his wife and child before killing himself. This incident received worldwide media coverage, and became the subject of a U.S. Congressional Enquiry eventually revealing serious and endemic abuse of steroids and painkillers among wrestlers in WWE. • PPV/Pay-per-view – event available to viewers for a fee, i.e. not part of normal network programming. This is traditionally a central revenue stream for wrestling companies. We first need to establish the difference between professional (pro) and amateur wrestling. Pro wrestling is a staged and scripted event in which stories are told through the medium of theatrical fight sequences and melodramatic acting. On the other hand, amateur wrestling is a traditional sporting contest. The 'wrestling' we refer to throughout this paper is the staged version. Wrestling in the USA emerged from the carnival world of 'worked' fights, i.e. fights with a pre- determined outcome, around the turn of the 20th century. By the 1950s the culture of wrestling had gained a cultural foothold far beyond its 'carny' beginnings and was enjoyed by millions of people in arenas throughout the country and on television. The USA was divided into dozens of territories by wrestling promoters, i.e. WWWF put on events around New York, World Class would promote from Boston to New Jersey, and, notwithstanding isolated incidents, these divisions were largely respected. This system fell apart in the 1980s when the WWWF (renamed the WWF, later WWE) began promoting nationally. The territorial system fell apart and there are now only two major companies, WWE and TNA. These companies promote several weekly live events, syndicated cable TV shows worldwide, monthly pay-per-views (PPV) and have strong financial backing. It must be noted that WWE is hugely more successful than TNA financially. Indeed, WWE has been so commercially successful since the early 80s that most people outside of wrestling fans are unaware
  6. 6. of any competition. In truth there are literally dozens of small independent companies running events in the USA, the most popular of which is Ring of Honor (ROH). ROH is mostly a very different style to that of WWE and focusses on athleticism and realistic fight sequences. Toepfer makes this distinction very clear and refers to the ROH aesthetic as 'bourgeois'... "The bourgeois aesthetic used by ROH fans in the IWC centers on this focus on the aesthetics of the wrestling matches rather than the production values of the matches’ presentation.... ROH simply cannot compete with the WWE’s production values and presentation style, so the company and its fans focus on what it does differently from WWE, which is the actual wrestling matches. And the minimalist setting and production values only adds to the bourgeois aesthetic where less is more."[1] Ring of Honor presents itself as an alternative. This has created a fierce loyalty among its fans, who find the bourgeois aesthetic and underground status appealing. They feel strongly that ROH belongs to them, that they are somehow represented by the company. They are apposite to the WWE's hegemony, a reaction to the 'commercialised' or 'sanitised' version of wrestling. There is arguably another subtle but significant influence on wrestling fans. Wrestling is often the subject of derision from non-fans who decry it as 'fake' or find the outlandish theatrics more suitable for children than any serious consideration. Perhaps this is also a lingering artifact from the kayfabe era. It was well known among the general public that wrestling was not a legitimate sporting contest long before anyone within the culture would admit it. We argue that there was significant resentment towards this fraudulent, 'carny' aspect of pro wrestling. This residual suspicion towards the culture has meant that even though pro wrestling is a hugely popular practice (WWE programming broadcasts in over 80 countries worldwide) there are few positive mentions of wrestling in the mainstream media. Also, the culture has received countless pages of negativity in the last decade due to the Benoit murders, steroid abuse scandals and many high profile deaths of wrestlers. This perceived negativity and even hostility towards wrestling marginalises fans yet binds the fan collective in their shared experience and heightens the sense of community. Fig. 3 – Preconceptions facing wrestling fans...
  7. 7. HDNet and Commercial Concerns (DB) The relationship between HDNet and Ring of Honor was announced in 2009 by billionaire owner Mark Cuban (himself a well-known wrestling fan)... “ROH has developed a cult following thanks to its special brand of professional wrestling and we are pleased to present it for the first time to a mass television audience.” [2] At this time HDNet was available to approximately 15 percent of households in the USA, as well as parts of Canada. This limited reach positioned it as somewhat of a niche broadcaster and combat sports (MMA and boxing in particular) were a key part of its programming. It would appear that the underground appeal of ROH fit their aesthetic direction and potential demographic (there is traditionally a large crossover audience between MMA and pro wrestling). They paid a fee to Ring of Honor for the broadcast rights to 'ROH on HDNet' for two years (fee undisclosed), recouping some of their investment by licensing the show in overseas markets. HDNet's initial action in this controversy (issuing notice of copyright infringement to YouTube) is easy to understand, they were protecting their business interests in line with standard practices in the market. What follows is much more difficult to understand. Why would they reach an agreement to let ROHBrazil upload their show? This act of altruism has not been expanded upon in any of the sources in our research and the following paragraphs offer some possible motivations for the agreement on the part of HDNet. We can put this down to mere common sense perhaps, ROHBrazil's argument about providing a service to those outside the reach of HDNet is compelling and the same sentiment is echoed throughout the YouTube comments, message boards and wrestling media that we have researched. Coming at it from another angle, can we argue that HDNet is hoping to attain some sort of cultural credence from this agreement? Not only are they hosting an edgy, underground product in ROH, but they are also subverting the norms of media distribution by essentially giving away their product for free a mere two days after the initial showing. Subversiveness is a quality central to subcultures and perhaps HDNet are hoping to exploit the goodwill this move undoubtedly generated. The initial positive feedback from the wrestling fan community (though not as pronounced as that awarded ROHBrazil) would indicate that this had a largely positive effect on impressions of HDNet and significantly raised brand awareness amongst this demographic. ROH fan Interaction on Message Boards and YouTube. (DGD) "These fans clearly want an alternative to WWE’s sports entertainment, something catering to their own interests as wrestling fans. That ROH targets this disenfranchised niche audience fits into the ROH aesthetic employed by these fans to determine value" [1] ROH fans are very vocal in their support of the promotion and many are active members of internet forums and communities where their passion for ROH is very evident. They are very knowledgeable about ROH, the wrestlers and the culture of wrestling in general. The forums are full of intense debate and in each forum we witness a willingness to share information and offer advice to the uninitiated. The boards are often sources of file-sharing, either transparently through dedicated threads or subversively through private messaging (PM). The example below is a snapshot of an exchange between a longtime fan and a lapsed fan looking for advice regarding the top-rated tag-teams are at the moment.....
  8. 8. Fig. 4 – Positive interactions on message board... This is a fairly typical example of the sharing etiquette prevalent in the culture as viewed in our research. Rather than 'trolling' new user Bosox, the response from BalzOfHonor is full of relevant information, aiming to help expand Bosox's knowledge. Similarly Bosox maintains the etiquette by posting an emphatic 'thanks a ton!'. This thread continues for several pages with several regular contributors to the forum offering their opinions also. We argue that it is this quality of sharing knowledge and media within the wrestling fan network that both encourages the behaviour of ROHBrazil and provides a significant portion of the audience for his channel. The ROH fans on YouTube were quick to praise ROHBrazil for his contribution, some offering help and encouragement (fig. 6, fig. 7). He responds to and interacts with his subscribers (fig. 7), the comments and direct messages offer a direct line from fans to uploader. This fosters the feeling of community and is a truly reflexive relationship, providing motivation for ROHBrazil and while providing content and a community for subscribers. YouTube and the Power of Copyright in the Network. (DGD) YouTube is a significant artifact in our network and provides extensive information on copyright policies which focus on the 'three strikes' method of issuing repeated warnings followed by termination of account. Users who fall foul of copyright can appeal the decision but their videos will remain removed until a decision is reached. Up until recently this was solely the responsibility of the copyright owner who had to make a formal complaint to YouTube. This was the case at the time of the events in our paper. Fig. 5 - YouTube copyright infringement form
  9. 9. The power here lies completely with the copyright owner. To avoid the possibility of legal action against them, YouTube presumes the guilt of the uploader and immediately removes the offending video. Multiple infractions will result in suspension of the account. It is this power that ensures the sudden end to ROHBrazil's uploads, he cannot negotiate with YouTube, they act on behalf of the copyright holder. One of the key issues here is the American idea of 'fair use' within copyright law. While not providing a legal basis for the actions of ROHBrazil it could be argued that 'fair use' is the moral stance of ROHBrazil and the subscribers to his channel. We suggest that this also provides a potential legal stance explaining HDNet's motivations for the agreement. The Torrent Provider in the Actor Network (AC) The role of Xtreme Wrestling Torrents in this network can be said to reinforce some of our observations regarding the fan network. Beekhuyzen's ethnography [4] on filesharing communities frames our earlier contention that the ethos is one of sharing and is not merely a 'malicious subculture' [4]. Members of the community argue that they contribute much more than mainstream fans who may only buy a handful of DVDs or PPVs a year. Contrarily, many of the torrent users are completists, who download huge amounts of content to inform their legitimate purchases. Some of these fans are observed to spend several thousand dollars a year on their area of interest [4]. Though not considered a central actor in our network we must recognise the significance of its contribution. Without the torrent sites ROHBrazil has no source for his channel and the controversy cannot continue without their weekly action. Deconstructing the Reaction of Fans to the Demise of ROHBrazil's Youtube Channel (ALL) Fig. 5 illustrates severe disappointment throughout the thread. Several users are resigned to not seeing ROH on HDNet again (though whether this because of moral opposition to illegal filesharing or ignorance of such options is not clear) and user 'Madman Szalinksi' goes so far as to write that this may be the 'death' of Ring of Honor such is the level of alienation this has created among fans. One user ('Scuba Steve IS DEAD!') offers an interestingly gracious perspective and recognises the unusualness of the arrangement. He suggests that they have given away enough content for free and are now in a position to commercially exploit their position. We see this sentiment expressed throughout the network but it is generally a minority position. Fig. 4 is typical of many of the comments we see throughout the forums and YouTube, i.e. encouraging others to source illegal downloads of the ROH on HDNet show. This is apparent in many video commentaries on YouTube responding to news of the deal. By ending the agreement, HDNet have largely undone the good faith they received from ROH fans who subscribed to ROHBrazil's channel. We must presume that HDNet anticipated a backlash from the IWC and supposed that they had greater commercial gains to make that would mollify these concerns. Though not an official promoter of Ring of Honor, ROHBrazil's channel was sanctioned by the relevant authorities and so its demise came as a great surprise to the faithful subscribers, greatly exacerbating their ill-feeling towards HDNet. By association, the Ring of Honor promotion itself receives much ire from the forum and YouTube communities. This is despite the widespread
  10. 10. knowledge that ROH has nothing to do with HDNet's agreement with ROHBrazil. These fans reckon that ROH could have stepped in to salvage the scenario, yet based on the evidence accrued in our research we suggest that this is not the case. It could be argued that the lack of clarity around the deal implicates ROH in the controversy as HDNet have never made an official statement on any aspect of their dealings with ROH. The negativity directed towards ROH is somewhat based on the need for users to apportion blame, and in this small network they are a logical scapegoat for some users. It must be worrying for ROH that users are being directed towards torrent sites, where fans can download many ROH PPV events for free. In a business where profit is minimal this could be critical to their business model. Positive Comments from Subscribers of ROHBrazil's YouTube channel. (N.B. YouTube comments are read bottom-to-top) Fig. 6 - Users of channel are eager to give thanks and to profess their passion for ROH. – Final comment from 'larthaq' is multi-faceted: begins by offering thanks; personalises message by focussing on ROH's underground status, 'Vince' refers to WWE, acknowledging its monopoly status and positioning 'larthaq' in the network as a 'smark'. Fig. 7 - ROHBrazil responds to a comment regarding his future in the channel, assuring them of his commitment and stating his devotion in an almost vocational way, 'I always gonna do it somehow'.
  11. 11. Fig. 8 – Encouraging piracy and criticising ROH (rather than HDNet or YouTube)
  12. 12. Fig. 9 - Reactions from ROHBrazil's Youtube Channel to the Termination of Agreement (N.B. YouTube comments are read bottom-to-top) Fig. 10 – Recognition of ROHBrazil from The Wrestling Blog Fig. 11 – Disappointment expressed by on removal of ROHBrazil channel
  13. 13. Fig. 12 - Message Board Thread on Demise of ROHBrazil Channel
  14. 14. Unpacking the Central Agent – ROHBrazil (AC) This section deals with the motivations of the actors and the how these motivations affect the network. Interview with ROHBrazil As all of ROHBrazil's videos were removed, some facts surrounding the controversy were not fully available. To get a clearer picture of the events and factors that influenced the action we contacted ROHBrazil and conducted a short interview via e-mail. While we acknowledge that this is a subjective account this interview proved extremely useful in establishing the network and the interactions within. Note - We include each of the 5 questions and answers unedited to ensure transparency. We have however censored one name to ensure anonymity. We have not corrected spelling or grammar and we ask that the reader respects the fact that English is not the first language of our interview subject. (Notes and analysis of answer in parentheses) Q. What was your initial motivation for uploading the ROH TV show? A. Well, I was a big fan of ROH product, and when I heard about a TV show, I thought to myself “Why not upload to youtube”? Since ROH was not that famous, I thought nobody would care about it being uploaded there. HDNet is a channel that was not available even to all americans, I believe, so nobody outside USA could have access to it without the illegal downloads. I did it because I thought this could expand ROH fanbase all around the world. (This positions him first and foremost as a fan of the product. He acts on his passion and actively tries to raise the profile of ROH by uploading the show. He is well aware of the commercial status of ROH and sees his uploads as a contribution to their success rather than infringing on their commercial rights. This is consistent with the reaction by fans when the deal ends, they see ROHBrazil as offering a service that is denied to them by geography. ) Q. How did you come to an arrangement with HDNet to upload the show? A. I lost the messages here about the verbal deal. Some days after I uploaded the first episode, some guy of HDNet (his name was ****** I believe) ask me to delete my vídeos, than I explain about ROH fans outside of USA could not watch the show, and thing like that and he understood, and allow me to upload the show to youtube 2 days after the show aired on HDNet (He actively pursues this task when faced with copyright notices and reaches an agreement with HDNet. This is very significant and unusual, if not unprecedented. ROHBrazil does not elaborate on the motivations of HDNet.) Q. If my memory is correct you had to source the show from illegal torrent sites? Why did HDNet not provide you with full quality files? Or why did they not upload the show themselves? On average, how many views did these uploads receive? A. Yes, I used illegal torrent site, the I don’t know why they did not send me the files, or upload to their own channel, probably is because they could be big to send via e-mail or upload somewhere and send a download link to me. (This positions the agreement in an ad-hoc grey area. Though officially HDNet have sanctioned the uploading of the show, they have left it up to ROHBrazil to source the shows from a torrent site. This is highly unusual and we can offer only speculation as to the reasons why.)
  15. 15. Q. You were the only source for ROH on HDNet for viewers outside of the U.S.A. and you became almost famous because of it! Did you feel under pressure to deliver the show on a weekly basis? What feedback did you receive from the wrestling community? A. I was kinda famous because of it. I had more than 10 thousand subscribers at my channel, I was the 24° channel with more subscribers here in Brazil. Since I don’t have anymore vídeos on my channel, I don’t remember exactly the average, but if I’m not mistaken, it was like 5 thousand views each vídeo, and if it was a big match, much more views. The pressure was huge, many fans didn’t understand why I uploaded the show 2 days after it airs, while other channels uploaded just right after it appears on the internet, but I had some loyal fans that could wait, since those other channels were always get deleted. The feedback was great, and my biggest moment was when CHRIS HERO ask to me separate his matches, and then he would upload to his own channel. The feeling was AWESOME, since I’m a big fan of him. I hope he remember about me when he become the WWE Champion xD. (Here ROHBrazil acknowledges his 'fame' as a result of his uploads. It is important to recognise this as a potential factor in his actions, i.e. recognition from his peers for his efforts. This is not to say that the project is a vanity project, more that the dedicated following is proof of the importance of his work, he emphasises the loyalty of his subscribers and is grateful of it. While far removed from what we might consider mainstream success, 5000 viewers on average is a significant number (bear in mind that the TV broadcast of ROH on HDNet receives approximately 5,000 viewers on average) and is ample evidence of a receptive audience for the channel. Of great significance is the communication with Chris Hero. One of the most famous ROH wrestlers (since employed by WWE), this is a major endorsement of the need for his work and a dream come true for ROHBrazil, further incentivising the task. This could also be said to point to the paucity of resources within independent wrestling promotions. Chris Hero, an employee of ROH, is contacting a fan for access to his matches rather than his employers, presumably because they will not or cannot provide him with the material. We argue that this factor also plays into the 'bourgeois aesthetic' espoused by Hoepfer, that the scant resources at their disposal encourages fan participation by recognition of the need for support that ROH (and independent promotions in general) require to stay in business.) Q. Can you describe the circumstances that led to the deal ending? Were you surprised at this situation? A. It was a hard and weird moment. Out of nowhere (like Randy Orton’s RKO) my vídeos were being deleted. I ask why, and then they replied that I could not upload anymore vídeos and I should delete all my files. I believe that was some change of power at HDNet, and some changes were made. Since I started to work, and my passion with wrestling was getting lower and lower every time, I just didn’t have the energy to argue with them again, and then I made what they ask and deleted everything. I know that ROH got a new TV contract and they upload the shows to their own channels, I just don’t know why they didn’t do it when they were at HDNet. I was off my channel for almost two years, and I just log on it because WWE made their first show ever here in Brazil and I uploaded everything that I had about the show there. I don’t know when I will upload something again, probably on the next WWE show here. (This event illustrates the fragile nature of this agreement, suddenly permission is revoked and ROHBrazil is powerless to stop it. Though we argue that ROHBrazil is the instigator of the central action in the actor network, it is undoubtedly HDNet who wield the most power in the equation, and without their consent this network dissipates very quickly. We also see that though he now has a job and a somewhat diminished passion for wrestling, he has just uploaded the WWE show from Brazil this year (this was an un-televised 'house' show and so uploading of such events is generally tolerated), thus his desire to contribute still exists.)
  16. 16. Beyond 'Prosumerism' and a Dichotomous Role – ROHBrazil (AC) “...the prosumer is clearly not the self-motivated creative originator and developer of new content which can today be observed in projects ranging from open source software through Wikipedia to Second Life, but simply a particularly well-informed, and therefore both particularly critical and particularly active, consumer.” [1] From evidenced observed throughout the network we can confidently state that ROHBrazil is not content to be a passive consumer and elevates beyond Toffler's theory of the 'prosumer' in this case. By his actions in collaboration with HDNet, ROHBrazil becomes both user and provider thus inhabiting a space alone. This dichotomy brings with it new tensions in his relationship with his subscribers and with the ROH product itself, i.e. through this convergence he is now subject to the expectations of the audience while still being part of the audience himself. In a sense we can also say that ROHBrazil is 'de-bureaucratising' [5] the process of watching 'ROH on HDNet'. By his actions and negotiations he has removed the geographical and financial barriers to watching the show. ROHBrazil is in a certain position of authority due to the audience's reliance on his uploads, and receives much respect from the community from his work. However, as it becomes known that his channel is regular and reliable he becomes subject to their impatience and demands. This puts pressure on what had been a purely enjoyable and somewhat passive act and fundamentally alters his relationship with the practice. His end of the agreement is diligently applied and the vocational aspect of this process cannot be discounted. All evidence points to a single-minded determinedness in this regard. The popularity of the channel and the support he receives is a largely unanticipated but welcome result and through his interactions with subscribers we see that this provides welcome motivation to keep the uploads going. He receives significant mentions in many of the popular blogs that cover wrestling, all of which portray his endeavour positively and promote his channel. This vote of confidence can be said to provide further validation for his actions. Conclusions (ALL) In review, we have seen that this network is multi-faceted, with myriad competing motivations. ROHBrazil's initial uploads are the spark for the following two years of interactions and his determination is the driving force behind the continuance of the network. His actions place him in a category beyond prosumer, a role that brings with it pressures and expectations from his subscribers. This transformative aspect of his actions fundamentally alters his status, previously a fan, he now is a distributor of media and an active participant in the promotion of Ring of Honor. This newly found status is another central motivation for his vocational behaviour. The agreement is seen to be an anomaly in user-corporate interactions and though we have alluded to HDNet's potential motivations throughout our paper, we cannot definitely ascribe any reasoning to their decision in this matter. We are more clear that their termination of the agreement is some attempt at protecting their investment. We have illustrated how the conventions associated with wrestling and negative perceptions thereof have greatly influenced the interactions in our network. These conventions and perceptions embolden the culture of wrestling fans and greatly increases their emotional connection to the ROHBrazil channel. The backlash towards HDNet we observed from fans was passionate and heartfelt and illustrates significant ill feeling towards the company. This outrage is moral in nature, not generally taking into
  17. 17. account HDNet's legal right to revoke the agreement. This outrage results in a notable level of negativity towards Ring of Honor also, many fans do not make the distinction between the actions of HDNet and Ring of Honor. Their passion is largely derived from the marginalistion of wrestling (and particularly independent wrestling) in mainstream media and is a consistent feature of subcultures. The collective identifies with and strongly approves of ROHBrazil's actions and reciprocate his efforts with thanks and encouragement We have seen that YouTube operates as the enforcer of law in this network, they make no moral judgement at any time in the controversy and remain aloof throughout. They escape negativity from the IWC because of this aloofness, there is an implied understanding of their position on copyright infringement, i.e. there is no grey area affecting the perception of their role in the controversy. We surmise that the lack of perceived clarity and transparency in the deal contributes greatly to the reaction of fans and their hostility towards HDNet. This lack of transparency gives HDNet great power in the network, and the negative reaction from fans could be said to be predicated on HDNet 'hedging their bets', i.e. allowing goodwill and brand awareness to build up without having to physically act themselves, while wholly protecting their commercial interests and ostensibly investing nothing in this side of the network. References 1. Toepfer, S., 2011, 'The Playful Audience: Professional Wrestling, Media Fandom, and the Omnipresence of Media Smarks', PhD., Georgia State University. 2. 'HDNet Announces Partnership With Ring of Honor', 2009, Ring of Honor Website, available - [accessed Nov. 26, 2012]. 3. Bruns, A., 2009, 'From Prosumer to Produser – Understanding User-led Content Creation', Snurblog [online], available - [accessed Dec. 2, 2012]. 4. Beekhuyzen, J.P., 2009, 'A Critical Ethnography of an Online File Sharing Community: An Actor-Network Theory Perspective of Controversies in the Digital Music World', PhD., Griffith University. 5. Castello, M., 2000, 'The Rise of the Network Society (The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture, Volume 1)', Wiley-Blackwell. Fig. 1 & 2 Authors Fig. 3 'Not What You Expected', 2012, SMASHVILLE WRESTLING [online],, [accessed Dec. 5, 2012] 'To the Wrestling Section: You Know Its Fake Right?', 2012, Yahoo! Answers [online], [accessed Dec. 5, 2012] Fig. 4 'Getting back into ROH', 2010, ROH World [online], f=2&t=1707, [accessed Nov. 22, 2012]
  18. 18. Fig. 5 'Youtube Copyright Complaint Form' Fig. 6, 7 & 9 ROHBrazil Channel Comments, YouTube, [accessed Nov. 22, 2012] Fig. 8 'ROHBrazil', 2010, CAWS Forum [online], [accessed Dec. 2, 2012] 'ROHBRAZIL SUSPENDED – SHOULD FANS BREAK THE LAW?', Marc Pearson on YouTube [online], [accessed Dec. 2, 2012] 'No ROHBRAZIL?!?! Here's an alternative!', TheBrakeDown on YouTube [online], [accessed Dec. 2, 2012] Fig. 10 'From The Archives, Tag Team Week – El Generico and Kevin Steen vs. The Super Smash Bros.' The Wrestling Blog [online], team-week-el-generico.html [accessed Dec. 4, 2012] Fig. 11 Martin, A. 2010, 'From The Desk of Mr. V #93', [online], WrestleView, available [accessed Dec. 4, 2012] Fig. 12 'No More ROHBrazil', 2010, ROH World, [online], available [accessed Dec. 4, 2012]