[ Revised Dec 2 ] A decision by a US District Court in California against five individual defendants operating Firestream LLC are jointly and severally liable for statutory damages for the payment of $51,600,000 plus legal fees and interest, for distributing copyrighted works via “Nitro TV” infringing web sites that also included TekkHosting.com, NitroIPTV.com, Lalaluhosting.com, Nitro.ltd, and an intermediary site called Njalla.
This reflects an award of the statutory maximum of $150,000 per work for the Nitro Defendants’ willful infringement of each of Plaintiffs’ identified 344 representative works. This damage award also reflects an award of $27,200.84 per work for the Nitro Defendants’ willful infringement of Plaintiffs’ identified the 1,872 Works.
In addition, domain registrars such as Tucows, Namecheap and Domain.com, which were domain registrars for the Nitro TV sites are permanently enjoined from allowing those domain names from being deleted, sold or transferred to another owner except to the plaintiffs in the case, Columbia Pictures, Amazon Content Services LLC, Disney Enterprises, Paramount Pictures Corpl, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Universal City Studios LLLP, Universal Television LLC and Universal Content Productions LLC.
The initial complaint, filed in March 2021, noted Nitro’s targeting of California subscribers by including a collection of broadcast television networks throughout California such as the Los Angeles ABC, CBS, CW, NBC and FOX networks.
The Nitro TV pirate services als offered a VOD service in the form of Nitro TV’s “Catch Up” feature. When a Nitro TV subscriber selects the “Catch Up” option, they are offered television programming from the prior two days. For example, a Nitro TV subscriber using this feature on a Monday would be shown a guide of what aired on Sunday and Saturday, and may select and watch a program that was telecast at a specific time and on a specific channel (e.g., Disney Channel, Paramount Network) during the prior two days. This type of VOD service is only possible by copying the programming.
The defendants also offered “24/7,” title-curated channels devoted to a single television series, motion picture, or franchise. By way of example, there was a 24/7 channel dedicated to Season 1 of Peaky Blinders and another dedicated to Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which streamed those programs repeatedly.
Documents associated with this case, including the original complaint and the Judgment, are available through the PACER system, Public Access to Court Electronic Records, case number 2:20-cv-03129-MEMF-GJS, Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. et al v. Alejandro Galindo, et al
Read the December 2 ACE news release: US Judge Orders IPTV Piracy Service NetroTV to Pay $51.6 Million in Damages to ACE Members
According to this subsequent news release by ACE, US District Court Judge Frimpong noted that NitroTV’s “very existence” “undermines and stunts the growth of the market” for ACE members’ “legitimate offerings” of film and television content.
Judge Frimpong continued by noting that NitroTV’s infringement compromised ACE members’ “business model, as well as the entertainment industry itself,” by undermining “copyright owners’ ability to control the distribution and use of their copyrighted works.” Judge Frimpong also recognized that NitroTV’s infringement “threatens ACE members’ relationships with their legitimate licenses and . . . digital distribution business; encourage[s] the growth of the illicit market for infringing content; and exposes [ACE members] to continued risk of piracy.”