Unlicensed IPTV services are now billed as one of the biggest threats faced by producers of movies and television shows.
There are numerous cases pending against alleged operators of ‘pirate’ services actioned under copyright law.
However, in the United States, DISH Networks and NagraStar are increasingly using the Federal Communications Act to target companies and individuals who it claims are involved in the capture and subsequent rebroadcasting of its satellite signals via ‘pirate’ IPTV services.
The latest targets are One Box TV, LLC and alleged sole manager Donna Fogle, both of Florida. It’s alleged that One Box TV sold $19 per month IPTV subscriptions containing unlicensed DISH programming and Android-style boxes configured with the same features for around $275.
In common with another recent DISH case filed against unlicensed IPTV provider IPGuys, the broadcaster claims that it was able to use technical means determine that at least some of the content offered by One Box TV was illegally sourced from its satellite broadcasts.
“The DISH Programming distributed on the OneBox service was received from DISH’s satellite communications without authorization from DISH,” the complaint reads.
“During testing of the OneBox service, encoded messages incorporated into DISH’s satellite communications of the Willow Cricket channel, for example, were detected on the Willow Cricket channel retransmitted to customers of the OneBox service, thereby confirming this content originated from DISH’s satellite communications.”
While One Box TV is an LLC, the company doesn’t appear to have particularly grand premises. According to DISH, the company operates from a booth at a flea market and websites including OneBoxLive.com and OneBoxTV.com.
A note in the complaint indicates that DISH had a “pre-suit discussion” with One Box TV during which the company said that it had the ability to “remove channels” from its service. It’s not clear when that communication took place but if customer complaints posted to the Better Business Bureau website are any indicator, One Box TV went down during May.
“When we purchased our TV streaming box, we were promised lifetime updates. Our box needs updated [sic], and we can’t find this seller. E-mails returned. We paid $175 cash for the OneBox about 2-3 years ago. Model No. OneBoxTVPlus. We were promied lifetme updates [sic], but we cannot find the seller,” one reads.
Another complainant indicated that they went to the company’s place of business, but left disappointed.
“We received notice of them stopping their business. We went to see what’s up and the booth they were at is empty. We are out over $350 on our equipment. Sales rep was Donna F. She sold us 2 boxes and a monthly service and now we get an email saying they are discontinuing their business. We are out $350 for equipment,” a complaint posted May 13 reads.
Yet another complaint says that the company took back a previously-sold box to update it, but then closed down without returning the device. Subsequent phone calls went unanswered and the company’s voicemail was reportedly full.
DISH is now demanding a broad permanent injunction against One Box TV and its alleged operator, plus actual or statutory damages of between $10,000 and $100,000 per violation, plus costs.
Finally, the DISH case against IPGuys reported last week listed Miracle Box Media as a reseller of that service. Court records indicate that Virginia-based Miracle Box Media LLC and alleged operator Melvin Crawley Jr. are also being sued by DISH along broadly similar lines.