The UK-based CDN transport and caching provider had come to the attention of rights-holders in 2018, when the Motion Picture Association described it as enabling pirates to deliver programming illegally through its platforms, in comments that it filed with the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) for its 2019 Notorious Markets Report, which is published annually.
DISH filed a lawsuit against Datacamp in 2022. Piracy operations identified as being facilitated by Datacamp were Banjo TV; Bollywood IPTV; Comstar TV; Express IPTV; Gennie TV; Gold TV; IPGuys; Istar; Red IPTV; Sky IPTV; and Zumm TV, which delivered about 40 channels of TV programming illegally. IBCAP provided technical and legal professional services support for the case.
The 2023 edition of the USTR’s Notorious Markets report does not list Datacamp, as IBCAP notified the USTR in its comments that the settlement announced here in February 2024 had been reached last year. The US District Court’s Memorandum Opinion and Order, linked below, is dated July 23, 2023. The MPA did not mention Datacamp in its own comments for the 2023 Notorious Markets report.
In addition to the $3 million payment, the settlement agreement also required London-based Datacamp to implement a takedown policy and a repeat infringer policy, which are intended to expedite removal of infringing material and permanently shutter the client accounts of repeat infringers.
Datacamp had been notified, methods noted
The 2022 complaint alleged that Datacamp had received nearly 400 notices of infringement from IBCAP but did little to stop the pirate services from continuing to use the Datacamp CDN. Datacamp operates multiple data centers across the United States.
Datacamp argued that the lawsuit should be dismissed because Datacamp could not be liable for infringement by its customers. They had further argued that they had forwarded takedown requests to the infringing Web sites but DISH contended that it could not resolve whether or not the requests were actually forwarded because Datacamp itself had failed to respond.
The complaint against Datacamp also asserted that Datacamp was concealing the identities and IP addresses of the infringing operators. It also noted that DataCamp “offer(ed) the Pirate Services security solutions such as ‘Secure Token’ and ‘built-in DRM’ to shield the Works from ‘unwanted attention.’”
The lawsuit was filed by DISH Network and coordinated by IBCAP. Evidence for the case was obtained and provided by the IBCAP lab. Prosecution of the case and settlement negotiations were executed by DISH’s outside litigation counsel, Hagan Noll & Boyle, LLC.
“Datacamp’s payment of $3 million conveys a strong message that CDNs and hosting companies should not take the risk of permitting infringing content to stream across their networks,” said Chris Kuelling, executive director of IBCAP.
The takedown and repeat infringer policies that Datacamp has agreed to serve as examples of policies other CDNs and hosting companies should adopt to help minimize infringements on their networks and minimize their exposure to sizeable damage awards,” he said.
IBCAP-coordinated lawsuit results in $3 Million settlement from U.K.-based Content Delivery Network and Server Host, Datacamp Limited. Press release. February 5, 2024. International Broadcaster Coalition Against Piracy (IBCAP)
DISH Network LLC v. Datacamp Limited. Document 74: Memorandum Opinion and Order. Case# 22-cv-00993. July 14, 2023. US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division.
(About the 2022 complaint, including a link to the original complaint) DISH: $32M lawsuit to Datacamp for enabling pirate transport, says IBCAP. Article. February 25, 2022. Piracy Monitor
Why it matters
This particular case reflects a fairly common outcome for cases like it: that the payment of damages is less than the amount sought. The original Datacamp lawsuit (complaint) sought $32 million in damages. In the end, $3 million was paid. One of the objectives of matters like this one is to set damages sufficiently high that the offender is unable to pay, and instead shuts down.
This category of offenders can be distinguished from full-blown “piracy as a service,” (PaaS) in that while Datacamp had continued to provide transport services to infringing Web sites even after it received warnings, there was no mention of Datacamp providing other services for which PaaS providers are also known, such as turnkey user experiences, hosted content libraries, custom app development, fraudulent advertising or fraudulent app development.
IBCAP is a coalition of leading international and U.S. content owners, broadcasters and distributors representing more than 210 television channels from the U.S. and around the world. As the largest anti-piracy organization focused on illicit services offering multicultural content, the nonprofit organization proactively monitors and identifies unauthorized video services, collects evidence and assists with legal actions and criminal investigations against organizations and individuals engaging in pirate activities.
IBCAP coordinates with government agencies and law enforcement both in the U.S. and abroad, reports suspected infringers to the appropriate authorities, initiates investigations and promotes the prosecution of persons or companies that participate in the illegal distribution of its members’ video content.