DISH wins $31M judgment in Chitram TV piracy case, with IBCAP support

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According to the judgment issued by the US District Court of the Southern District of Texas, DISH Network discovered that ChitramTV, a popular South Asian pirate TV service, had distributed 207 copyrighted works  that had aired on 19 channels for which DISH had exclusive rights.  ChitramTV captured live signals, saved them to servers and redistributed the programming to illicit streaming devices and subscriptions sold by ChitramTV or its resellers.

Over the period from 2014 to 2021, DISH sent 164 infringement notices to ChitramTV to cease transmitting, and an additional 58 notices to ChitramTV’s third party providers.  ChitramTV stopped for from 2015 but resumed in 2017.

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The current judgment was issued on November 16 was coordinated by IBCAP (the International Broadcast Coalition Against Piracy).  It was initiated in March 2021, and served to ChitramTV in August.  Chitram never answered or appeared.  The court imposed the maximum statutory penalty of $150,000 per work; $31,050,000 in all.

Screen shot of Chitram TV’s Web site, taken on Nov. 16, 2021

The District Court ordered domain registries and registrars to transfer current and future domains related to the operation and sales of the ChitramTV service, including domains used to sell or promote set-top boxes and subscriptions.  It also prohibited all resellers from distributing, selling, or promoting the ChitramTV service or any set-top boxes related to the service, and enjoined all third-party providers such as hosting companies and CDNs from providing services to ChitramTV.

Read the full IBCAP press release

Read the Default Judgment and Injunction (court document) issued by the US District Court  for the Southern District of Texas.

Why it matters

This judgment follows on the heels of other recent cases that also involved DISH Network and also supported by IBCAP: iStar IPTV, DesiTV and LiveTV, and Universe IPTV; which, together, clearly demonstrate a successful formula.

“We are very pleased with this legal victory as it will enable us and our members to shut down one of the most popular South Asian pirate services operating in the U.S. The injunctions imposed, along with the transfer of current and future domains associated with ChitramTV, will have a devastating effect on ChitramTV and any dealer selling ChitramTV,” said Chris Kuelling, executive director of IBCAP. “A dealer that continues to sell ChitramTV after receiving notice of the injunction will be in contempt of the Court’s order and liable for further damages. Dealers should be aware that it’s not worth risking their business by selling pirate IPTV services.”

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