Jake Paul vs Ben Askren was one the most-hyped boxing events of recent years, despite the former having limited experience in the boxing ring and the latter having none.
Askren was quickly knocked out in the Triller-promoted match, giving fans poor value for their PPV spend. Well, those who paid for it, at least.
Soon after the event was over, Triller promised a scorched-earth approach to all pirates, from those who simply watched the fight to those who allegedly facilitated access to it. Almost a year down the line the legal campaign is mirroring the success of Askren, if we take Askren’s significant purse out of the equation.
Chasing Down FilmDaily
The first big legal assault targeted many services and individuals said to have pirated the fight. The first site on the list was FilmDaily.co which together with the other defendants (we’ll come to some of those later), found themselves on the end of a $100m damages claim filed in April 2021.
Just a few weeks later a judge decimated the lawsuit after Triller failed to prove that any of the entities acted jointly and should therefore be handled in the same lawsuit. All other entities were dismissed from the case, leaving FilmDaily.co as the sole defendant. In July 2021, with Triller appearing to do little to progress the case, the court warned the lawsuit could be dismissed for lack of prosecution.
Triller responded, informing the court that it was working behind the scenes and had been able to discover the “true identity” of those behind FilmDaily. Triller told the court it was preparing an amended complaint but it made no difference. Triller was supposed to serve the defendant within 90 days but failed to do. As a result, the case was dismissed.
Yet Another Lawsuit Targets FilmDaily
As the first named defendant in its lawsuit campaign, Triller seemed determined to make an example of FilmDaily and those behind it. So it filed yet another lawsuit (pdf), this time against FilmDaily.co and its alleged operator, Frances Levi.
Triller alleged willful copyright infringement (for distributing, uploading, copying, and publicly displaying the fight), violations of the Federal Communications Act (interception/misuse of a satellite broadcast), and vicarious copyright infringement in respect of the infringing acts of those who allegedly viewed the fight on FilmDaily.
Exactly how much in damages Triller intended to claim was unclear since it produced no evidence to back up any of its claims. However, given its past actions, it was likely to run into the millions given the potential damages on offer. But, like the previous attempts to squeeze something from FilmDaily, this effort also went absolutely nowhere too.
Triller Dismisses Its Own Case
In its most recent attempt at a lawsuit against FilmDaily and Frances Levi, the allegations were pretty vague, to say the least. Triller claimed that the defendants made several posts on Reddit with various titles including “Live Reddit! Jake Paul vs Ben Askren Stream Free, How to Watch?” and which contained clickable links titled “Click to Watch Paul vs Askren Live Free”.
After providing screenshots of these links, Triller jumped straight into claims of “calculated and reprehensible infringement, theft, and other unlawful acts,” related to the supposed illegal broadcasting of the event. None of this was supported by any evidence.
While producing rock-solid evidence of infringement usually arrives as a case progresses, the complaint failed to show even a prime facie case of wrongdoing, such as a URL where the fight was offered or even a basic screenshot of the fight being aired on the platform. In fact, the only screenshot from FilmDaily shows the site advertising the fight as being available on Triller for $49.99.
It’s worth noting that FilmDaily appears to deploy clickbait-style advertising to attract people to its ‘news’ site and while it’s not exactly clear what happened here, there is nothing to show that the platform ever streamed this fight, which is the core of the entire complaint.
Triller Dismisses Its Own Case
After hiring an outside party to track Levi down, Triller attempted to serve Levi at three addresses in Los Angeles on six separate occasions, ultimately failing to serve by a November 2021 deadline. It was then granted an extension by the court which required it to serve the defendants by February 9, 2022.
That didn’t happen.
So with a whimper rather than a bang, Triller dismissed its own flagship lawsuit against its original number one defendant FilmDaily. There’s nothing on the record to show that any contact was made or any settlement reached, let alone millions in damages.
It seems fair to say that this legal campaign hasn’t gone well. After hoping to win $100 million in damages, Triller appears to have prevailed in just one case against YouTuber Matthew Space, the person behind the Eclipt Gaming channel. In that matter Triller demanded $170K+ in damages but was awarded just $15,000.
Another lawsuit against YouTuber ‘ItsLilBrandon’ was thrown out after Triller failed to follow the court’s orders.
Several other cases are pending but thus far, none appear to be moving in a positive direction. One example is the case against YouTuber Arvin De La Santos, the alleged operator of the YouTube channel YourEXTRA.
Triller reportedly agreed to settle the lawsuit but after the agreement was signed and the fee was paid, the company reportedly returned the money and resumed legal action. Unfortunately, the defendant’s lawyer has just informed the court that his client has no means to pay for a defense so permission has been requested (1,2) for him to withdraw.
Only time will tell whether any of the other complaints will bear fruit but if progress thus far is any metric, this expensive legal campaign may have become more trouble than its worth.