IPTV / Astrology Business Received Signals, Failed to Predict Copyright Lawsuit

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The owner of an astrology business, who allegedly sold subscriptions to a 10,000 channel IPTV service, was warned that his illegal business had no future. A complaint filed at a California court claims the defendant believed he had enough time and space to dodge a cease-and-desist. Ultimately, the stars failed to align, rendering an inevitable copyright infringement lawsuit impossible to predict.

tv future-sThanks to a global pooling of knowledge and intelligence, answers to our most difficult questions are just a few clicks away on the internet today.

Since in many cases those answers aren’t necessarily right, or even right at all, that might explain why some seek advice from outer space. For a fee, astrology company Astro Vastu Solutions (AVS) reportedly supply all kinds of advice.

However, when DISH offered the owner of AVS some advice concerning the Sharma IPTV service allegedly being sold, the cease-and-desist notice got lost in the ether and the inexorable march towards conflict began.

Sharma IPTV Receives All The Wrong Signals

In a lawsuit filed at a California court late last week, DISH describes the owner of Sharma IPTV and his company AVS as traffickers of an illegal streaming service.

How DISH managed to link sales to Sharma IPTV is unclear but according to the complaint, flyers distributed in the Bay Area led to its investigators handing over $135 in exchange for a subscription.

sharma iptv

“The Service is advertised on the flyer as a subscription-based service providing more than 10,000 live channels, sports programs, movies, and pay-per-view events, among other content, all for a low price ranging from approximately $10 to $15 per month,” the lawsuit claims.

“Users can access the Service with their own hardware or purchase a set-top box from Defendants for an extra fee. Defendants’ advertising emphasizes attracting users that may otherwise purchase legitimate television services such as the satellite-based services that DISH offers, stating for example, ‘NO Cable/Dish Needed’.”

DISH says that after signing up for 12 months, Sharma IPTV got in touch to say that the package had been activated. The company claims that it’s “the most sought after IPTV service provider” because its “data centers are strategically located in Danville [where Defendants reside] and across the USA and Canada to bring the live streaming without any delay or freeze.”

Who Supplies Your Content?

Whether the statement above aligns with facts on the ground is unknown, but answering a key DISH question well in advance of a lawsuit even being filed could be helpful.

No such information was provided proactively in respect of Sharma IPTV’s streaming sources, but you don’t have to be David Blane to see that at least some of its content originated from Sling.

sling v sling

“Plaintiffs’ Channels are retransmitted to users of the Service by circumventing the DRM technology that Plaintiffs use to protect the Channels from unauthorized access and copying. Upon information and belief, the circumvention targets at least the Widevine DRM,” the lawsuit notes.

“The Widevine DRM and the copy protection that it affords is circumvented using a specially developed computer program that emulates the behavior of a reverse engineered hardware device.”

Plaintiffs Predicted The Future

Having had a vision of what might happen in the absence of cooperation, the plaintiffs say they shared their prediction with Sharma IPTV in the form of a cease-and-desist, which appears to have proven unconvincing. How DISH and Sling managed to channel Sharma’s comments isn’t explained, but they shared them with the court nonetheless.

Despite an alleged plan to deflect attention elsewhere, certain actions with the potential to negatively unbalance the future were discontinued anyway.

DISH says that Sharma IPTV stopped accepting PayPal payments because “Dish and some other companies have been catching people” and requested online reviews to be deleted because the service “is not legal.” Subscribers were asked not to mention the IPTV service when paying for it, and in some cases were told to reference an astrology consultation instead.

DISH and Sling say Sharma and Astro Vastu Solutions willfully violated 17 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(2) and 17 U.S.C. § 1201(b)(1) when they manufactured, offered to the public, provided, or otherwise trafficked in their infringing service.

Somewhat predictably they demand an injunction under 17 U.S.C. § 1203(b)(1) plus actual or statutory damages of up to $2,500 for each infringement under § 1201.
(The stars predict a settlement, however)

The complaint can be found here (pdf)


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