ABS-CBN, the largest media and entertainment company in the Philippines, has booked another victory in the United States.
This week a federal court in Florida signed a default judgment against 19 websites that offered links to copyright infringing streams of ABS-CBN owned movies.
The lawsuit in question was filed in April and targets cinesilip.net, pinoychannel.co, pinoy-hd.com, and several other streaming portals that specialize in Philippine content. These sites also attract visitors from other countries, including the United States, where they target people of Philippine origin.
“Defendants’ entire Internet-based website businesses amount to nothing more than illegal operations established and operated in order to infringe the intellectual property rights of ABS-CBN and others,” the company wrote in its original complaint.
Despite facing hefty damages, none of the defendants turned up in court. This prompted ABS-CBN to file for a default judgment which was granted this week.
In his verdict, US District Judge Robert Scola Jr orders the 19 websites to pay $1 million in damages each. These damages are not for copyright infringement, as one would expect, but for violating ABS-CBN’s trademark. In addition, four of the defendants received an additional $30,000 in copyright infringement damages on top.
The media giant initially suggested that it would request the maximum of $2 million in trademark infringement damages per site, but has opted go “only” for half.
ABS-CBN’s most recent win follows a pattern of similar verdicts in recent months. The company has managed to score dozens of millions in damages from a wide variety of streaming sites with relative ease.
In addition to the millions of dollars that were awarded, Judge Scola also signed off on a permanent injunction to sign over the websites’ domain names to the media giant.
The question remains, of course, whether the company will ever see a penny in return. Most of the defendants remain unknown and even if they’re identified, most won’t have an extra million lying around.
To increase the chance of seeing something of monetary value in return, ABS-CBN also requested an injunction against the advertisers of several pirate sites in its latest lawsuit. If granted, this would allow the company to claim the pending advertising payouts. However, no such injunction was requested in the current case.
A copy of the default judgement is available abs-default, and a list of all the defendants is available below.