An individual residing in Ohio was found to be reselling the illegal PrimeStreams pirate streaming service via a domain and a business entity that he had registered. DISH Network and its Sling TV service filed a complaint against William Everly III for copyright infringement on September 30.
DISH and Sling opened a similar case against PrimeStreams itself in May 2022. Monitoring of PrimeStreams found more than 100 illegal instances of channels licensed to DISH and Sling TV, according to the complaint. PrimeStreams sells device codes directly to consumers and through resellers.
Everly resold the illegal PrimeStreams streaming service via a business entity called KTV Hosting, via the domain ktvhosting.com; calling them ‘hosting plans’ to disguise their true nature.
In Spring 2022, Everly acquired the customer base of another PrimeStreams reseller, Firestick Steve (“FSS” – which had been facing pressure from the plaintiffs, to cease and desist its own infringing behavior), merged their customer databases, and relaunched the business as Tixe Hosting; which served both end users and resellers.
Everly was notificed in July to cease and desist from operations, but had not yet complied as of the date of this complaint (or ten days later when Piracy Monitor posted this article online).
Claims for Relief
Similar to the counts against PrimeStream in May, the counts against Everly include violation of the Federal Communications Act [47 U.S.C. § 605(a)] for illegally receiving and transmitting DISH/Sling programming, and, 47 U.S.C. § 605(e)(4) for distributing access codes to users that were not entitled to receive the programming – wilfully and for financial gain. He also is charged with violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act [DMCA, 17 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(2)] for trafficking in pirate services.
Penalties are difficult to estimate but could run into the millions. For -605(a) and -605(e)4), DISH is asking for up to $100,000 per violation. For the DMCA violation, they are asking for the greater of (1) their actual damages together with Everly’s profits or (2) statutory damages up to $2,500 for each violation.
The Everly case is Case: 3:22-cv-01748-JZ, filed 9/30/22 with the US District Court, Northern District of Ohio, Western Division.
The PrimeStreams case is 2:22-cv-00060-DLB-CJS Dish Network L.L.C. et al v. Scroggins, Daugherty, DScroggs Investments, individually and collectively known as PrimeStreams, filed 5/11/22 with the US District Court of the Eastern District of Kentucky, Northern Division.
Why it matters
DISH Network has established a template for pursuing video pirates in the United States, and has been aggressive against piracy. DISH is also a member of the International Broadcaster Coalition Against Piracy, which focuses on internationally-sourced programming brought into the United States.