DISH files suit against “Biggest Arabic IPTV Provider in the World”

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DISH Network filed a complaint against Alfa TV’s ATN/Elfanet Service, for illegally distributing channels licensed to DISH.

Consumers received the programming via an app that was pre-installed on illicit streaming devices and available from mobile app stores.  Elfanet has a place of business in Florida, where DISH filed the complaint; in US Federal District Court.

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How big is it?

Elfanet refers to itself as “The Biggest Arabic IPTV Provider in the World,” distributing more than 3,000 channels originating in the Middle East and Turkey, including channels that were distributed exclusively in the US by DISH; through a network of 60 resellers.

Source: US District Court complaint Case 6:20-cv-01896-PGB-DCI

Elfanet claims to be the “Official Distributor of ATN,” whose owners had been ordered by Swedish authorities in 2018 to pay $24 million each and sentenced to prison for 2 1/2 years.  Even after that conviction, Elfanet was distributed in the United States.

Foolish moves

The owners purchased properties for ATN in their own names and in 2013, an individual hired to run customer support, who, by sending emails to ask people to renew their subscriptions, and by including codes for accessing the illegal service, was eventually caught by investigators.

Further details and a list of stolen programming are available in the Complaint, Case 6:20-cv-01896, which is available via the US Court System’s PACER document system.

Plea for award

In addition to pleading for shutdown, DISH is asking for an statutory damages of $150,000 per registered work, for 107 or more registered works

Why it matters

DISH has always pursued piracy claims in an aggressive manner.  Mitigation of theft and collection of damages are particularly important, as DISH Network’s subscriber count has fallen dramatically in recent years.

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