Studios sue Dallas-based operator of multiple piracy sites for copyright infringement

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Defendant William Freemon and his business entity Freemon Techology Industries LLC operate illegal streaming services under multiple names, including STREAMINGTVNOW.COM, TVNITRO.NET, LIVETVRESELLERS.COM and others; both as branded direct-to-consumer offerings and as a white-labeled service that can be branded by resellers.

[ Edit – Note: The sites were still active as of April 5, 2024. ]

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According to the complaint, Freemon began by selling illegally jailbroken streaming devices such as Amazon Fire TV Sticks via his Facebook and Twitter pages in 2016, and also through two Web sites. Technical experts found that the sites were registered to Freemon at a Texas address, and had a common IP address.

Combined, Freemon’s direct-to-consumer sites received nearly 500,000 visits over the last year, with an average of over 45,000 visits per month.  Streaming TV Now has been active since December 2020, and receives an average of about 13,700 monthly visitors (over 6,000 of which are unique visits).

The Streaming TV Now site charges subscription fees of $20/month or $150/year to give access to over 11,000 illegal channels and a video-on- demand service that offers over 27,000 movies and over 9,000 TV series.  This leads to an estimate that the site yields about $750,000 to $3,750,000 of income annually, assuming between 1% and 5% of the 500,000 annual visits convert to annual subscriptions at $150 per year.

The Streaming TV Now site was also linked to instructional videos to show consumers how to install and use the services, but after Plaintiffs contacted Freemon, the videos were taken down; providing “further evidence that Freemon is behind this web of services and that he knows he is committing infringement.”

Resellers can “make a lot of money reselling IPTV”

According to the Complaint, Live TV Resellers has been hosted at the same IP address used by Streaming TV Now and is linked to Freemon through his illegal Fire TV Sticks business.

The website offers reseller subscription packages ranging from $250 for 50 credits to $3,000 for 1,000 credits.

Screenshot. Live TV Resellers white label piracy wholesaler

Credits can be traded in for subscriptions to Streaming TV Now at a discounted rate compared to what end-users pay directly, allowing the reseller to earn a profit through selling subscriptions

The Complaint requests a jury trial.

Plaintiffs include Amazon Content Services, Columbia Pictures, Disney Enterprises, Netflix (US and worldwide), Sony Pictures, Universal and Warner Bros.; all of which are members of the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), the legal arm of the Motion Picture Association.

Further reading

Amazon Content Services et al. vs William Freemon, INSTANTIPTV.NET et al. Civil Action case no. 3:24-CV-733. Filed March 27, 2024. US District Court of the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division

ACE files copyright infringement lawsuit against illegal IPTV service “Streaming TV Now” and its operator.  Press release. March 27, 2024. Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE)

Why it matters

“Mass copyright infringement has a significant impact on the entertainment industry and the U.S. and global economies,” said Karyn Temple, Senior Executive Vice President and Global General Counsel for the Motion Picture Association in a prepared statement.

“Operators of illegal services, such as Streaming TV Now, profit from pirated content and often mislead consumers about the legitimacy of their services. When infringers, like Freemon, refuse to shut down their infringing services, we are prepared to pursue all legal remedies,” she said. 

An oft-cited 2019 report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that global online theft of copyrighted movies and TV shows costs the U.S. economy at least $29.2 billion in lost revenue each year.

According to the Motion Picture Association’s 2023 report, the American film and television industry alone supports 2.4 million jobs, pays out $186 billion in total wages, and comprises more than 122,000 businesses in all 50 states (92% of which are small businesses employing fewer than ten people).

Copyright infringers pose a serious threat to this creative marketplace. In 2022, there were an estimated 191.8 billion visits to film and TV piracy sites globally, according to another MPA report.

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