When it comes to tackling ‘pirate’ sites and services, US broadcaster DISH Network is one of the most active litigants in the United States.
This week the company filed a new lawsuit in a Texas district court targeting the operators of 15 domains that allegedly stream DISH content to the public without appropriate licensing.
DISH’s complaint says that 15 ‘Doe’ defendants are behind the websites Freetvall.net, Freetvall.xyz, Freetvall.me, Freetvall.live, Livetvcafe.com, Livetvcafe.net, Livetvcafe.me, Time4tv.com, Time4tv.net, Time4tv.me, Cricket-tv.net, Crickettv.me, Tv4embed.com, and A1livetv.com.
Checks against the domains indicate that the Freetvall domains are connected to the same platform, currently operating at Freetvall.xyz. The site is a goldmine of free embedded TV channels, not only from DISH, but from broadcasters around the world including Sky and ESPN, to name just two.
The second batch of ‘Livetvcafe’ domains appear to redirect to the same website, Livetvcafe.me. It bears a striking similarity to the site located at Freetvall.xyz albeit with slight variations in content. Cricket-tv.net and Crickettv.me triggered malware warnings in our tests, so were skipped.
In respect of streaming, A1livetv is currently non-functioning, likewise Cricket-tv.net and Cricket-tv.me. TV4embed.com currently offers no video content but does display a notice stating the following:
“DMCA: This site only contains links and embeds to TV channels from 3rd party sites which are freely available on all Internet. We are not affiliated in any way with the broadcasted channels nor responsible for their content. All content is copyright of their respective owners.”
Despite the seemingly hopeful position of this apparent disclaimer, the above statement is precisely what DISH considers to be infringing when it comes to these platforms.
“Upon information and belief, Defendants search the Internet for unauthorized sources of the Protected Channels and identify links to that content. Defendants then upload these links for the Protected Channels onto the Free TV Websites,” the broadcaster’s complaint reads.
It appears that DISH has been working since September 2013 to have all of these sites taken down. The company says it directly sent the platforms “at least” 49 notices of infringement demanding that they cease their activities but none were responded to.
DISH also sent the same number of notices to the sites’ hosts, at least some of which were passed on to the defendants. However, even when the service providers acted to remove content, DISH says it faced “interference”, such as the defendants switching hosts or links to content.
As a result, DISH says that the defendants have “actual knowledge” that the transmission of its channels infringes the broadcaster’s exclusive rights so are therefore liable for inducing and materially contributing to copyright infringement.
The company is demanding a permanent injunction against the defendants and anyone working in concert with them from “transmitting, streaming, distributing, publicly performing, linking to, hosting, promoting, advertising or displaying” any of DISH’s protected content in the United States, and/or inducing others in respect of the same.
DISH is also demanding statutory damages of up to $150,000 for each of 112 or more registered works and profits attributable to the infringement of any unregistered works. In addition to attorneys’ fees, the broadcaster also wants to seize all of the domains listed in the lawsuit.
A copy of DISH’s complaint can be found here (pdf).