On February 3, the US District Court for the District of Delaware handed down a final judgement against a pirate streaming service and its owner, awarding $2.7 Million to US-based satellite TV provider DISH Network.
East IPTV and its owner Ahmad al Shahman had been distributing channels that were licensed to DISH for exclusive distribution in the United States. Shahman was believed to be residing in Stockholm, Sweden.
17 Arabic language channels were being delivered over Serverlogy, a CDN that was operated by Shahman; who was delivering the programming to illicit East IPTV set-top boxes that were sold to US consumers. Serverlogy had been found to be ineligible for DMCA safe harbor because it was found to be complicit in distributing stolen programming despite having been served with 10 DMCA take-down notices.
The Arabic-language channels included Al Arabiya; Al Hayah 1; Al Jazeera Arabic News; Al Jazeera Mubasher; ART Cima; CBC; CBC Drama; Dream 2; Future TV; Hekayat; LBC; LDC; MBC1; MBC Drama; MBC Kids (a/k/a MBC3); MBC Masr; and Melody Classic
Verisign and other domain registrars of four domains associated with East IPTV were instructed to shut them down and transfer them to DISH Network. They are eastiptv.com, serverlogy.com, globalflarenetwork.com and iptvupdate.com
These domains now redirect to a portal that offers a Sling TV Arabic programming package for $15.00 per month. Sling TV is owned by DISH.
In addition to the shutdown itself, anyone distributing, enabling or advertising the illicit set-top boxes or any of the programming is permanently prohibited from further doing so.
Further details are available in court documents (Case 1:19-cv-01262-RGA)
Why it matters
DISH Network has pursued an ongoing program against pirates that redistribute programming that is licensed to DISH, and has won a number of similar cases in recent years. These have resulted in large cash awards, and the shutdown of the offending streaming providers.
A cynic might say that declines in pay TV subscribership in general have motivated operators like DISH to pursue this tactic, but in fact, DISH is protecting the distribution rights that have been granted to it.