TV & Film Piracy

Pirate IPTV Hit with $90M Fine, Appeals, Gets Fined Again

In 2018, SetTV, the now defunct pirate IPTV site, was ordered by a court to pay $90 million to DISH Network. An injunction issued at the same time shut down the service and prevented the company from offering anything like it in the future. However, they did not comply and were sued again in 2022. SetTV appealed, but in the end, agreed to pay an additional $130 million.

Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) is a platform that delivers television programs using internet protocol networks. It is a type of service that is rife with piracy. In the case of SetTV, they illegally broadcast TV programs that aired on the DISH Network.

In the original lawsuit, the platform’s operators, Jason LaBossiere and Nelson Johnson, were ordered by the court to pay DISH Network $90 million for violating the U.S. Federal Communications Act.

 When the second lawsuit was filed by the U.S. broadcaster, accusing SetTV operators of violating the injunction, DISH learned that the company had even launched a new pirate TV platform called ExpediteTV.

The March 2022 legal action filed by DISH, along with NagraStar and Sling TV, was against the former owners, LaBossiere, Stefan Gollner and Sean Beaman. The lawsuit, presented to a Florida court, alleged that the three owners were once again in the IPTV subscription business, this time under the platform names of ExpediteTV, Must TV and Mundo TV.

Due to this flagrant disregard for the law, a new compensation claim was made in April, based on the Federal Communications Act. The accused once again appealed. Each operator gave a different defense. LaBossiere said that DISH was “bullying” them and claimed that they would “stop at nothing” to be paid by alleged pirate operators. He said that he had limited involvement in ExpediteTV and that if any DISH programming was illegally broadcast, it wasn’t his fault.

Gollner filed a motion to ask that the action be dropped. Beaman tried to get the charge dropped as well, stating that he would not be able to mount a proper defense against what he considered to be unclear allegations.

In mid-May, lawyers reported to the court that their clients reached an agreement with the three companies, which included specific terms. However, they still did not agree on the charges and continued negotiations. The defendants agreed to pay an additional $130 million.

The broadcasters stood by their claims that the defendants infringed their rights through their IPTV services, but they confirmed that they had reached a settlement. In the end, the three owners paid $2,000 for each subscription they sold, in addition to fines. The final judgment divides the $130 million, which means that each defendant must pay $43,333,333.33 to the infringed companies.

The plaintiffs filed a new injunction that prohibits the defendants and anyone associated with them from receiving programming from Sling and DISH through the internet or satellite without prior authorization. Any rebroadcast through ExpediteTV, Must TV, Mundo TV or any other platform is also prohibited.

The Goa Spotlight – June 14, 2022   

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