The US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled to shut down unauthorised digital streaming and distribution by the providers of the Shava and Cres TV set-top boxes and awarded more than $25 million in damages.
The International Broadcaster Coalition Against Piracy (IBCAP) congratulated a number of its members for winning a lawsuit against Imran Butt and Naeem Butt, , who both operated the Shava TV and Cres IPTV over-the-top streaming services and sold IPTV boxes that retransmitted television channels and used programmer logos without permission. The channels hurt by piracy include Sony Entertainment, Star Plus, Aapka Colors, Zee TV, ARY Digital, B4U, Geo TV, Channel-I, ATN Bangla, MBC, Al Jazeera, Iqraa and Murr TV.
“This decision reinforces the fact that services streaming video without copyright authorization are blatant infringers and will be held accountable by the courts,” said Alex Fonoroff, senior corporate counsel at DISH.
“Enforcement efforts are underway, and as ISPs terminate service to the Shava and Cres networks we expect to see piracy on these boxes come to an end.”
“Perpetrators of pirate TV services think they can get away with it, but as this ruling proves, it’s only a matter of time before the law puts an end to illegal streaming schemes,” said Jaideep Janakiram, SVP International Business- Head of the Americas at Sony, whose subsidiary MSM Asia was a plaintiff in the case.
“The defendants deceived customers by illegally using our broadcast feed and logo, making the service look legitimate. Dealers and consumers must educate themselves on legal alternatives, otherwise, they will continue to waste their money on products that will become worthless.”
Filed in June 2015, the lawsuit brought claims for copyright infringement, trademark infringement and unfair competition by the makers of the Shava TV and Cres IPTV devices, which retransmitted Arabic and South Asian entertainment. The defendants profited by capturing live broadcast signals of protected channels, then transcoding those signals for internet streaming. They then retransmitted the channels using a peer-to-peer network, in which users of the box inadvertently send content to other users.
In addition to the unauthorised transmission of video content, the providers of the Shava and Cres streaming services also unlawfully used logos and trademarks of the plaintiffs, giving the false impression that the service was legitimate.
The court awarded a total of $25,650,000 in damages to plaintiffs for unauthorized distribution of copyrighted works. Plaintiffs in the case include DISH Network, Al Jazeera Media Network, Asia TV USA, B4U US, GEO USA, Impress Telefilm, MBC FZ, MSM Asia, Soundview Broadcasting, Soundview ATN, Star India Private Ltd. and Viacom18 Media Private Limited.