DISH: Vertically-integrated complaint against streaming services, two distributors and others

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DISH Network filed an infringement complaint against the operators of the Glo TV service, the CEO and director of New York-based distributor Massive Wireless, Inc., and Rays IPTV LLC, a California distributor and retailer, their management and others for operating, managing and distributing TV channels that are or were licensed for exclusive distribution by DISH.

The stolen programming originates in Pakistan, India, Egypt, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, and is part of DISH’s international programming lineup.  The lawsuit was coordinated by the International Broadcaster Coalition Against Piracy (IBCAP) after the defendants continued to run the operations despite multiple infringement notices on behalf of IBCAP members.

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“Does 1-10” (which include the CEOs of Glo TV and Massive Wireless) are named as ‘Direct Infringers’ while the companies Massive Wireless and San Diego County-based Rays IPTV LLC are named as “Secondary Infringers”) that work with the Direct Infringers to promote and enable access to the Infringing Service.  Those Secondary Infringers, in turn, sell subscriptions to those services, as well as pre-configured illicit streaming devices, to end users.

Damages sought

The plaintiffs seek statutory damages of up to $150,000 per work, for 170 registered works, which make a total of up to $25.5 million, plus any profits that could be attributed to the accused infringement and recovery of attorneys’ fees.

They also seek injunctions to permanently bar the operators, their distributors and anyone associated with them from distribution.

Vertical integration

“From those who operate pirate services, to the distributors who wholesale pirate subscriptions, to the retailers who purchase and resell pirate subscriptions to consumers, the sale of pirate services will not be tolerated,” said Chris Kuelling, executive director of IBCAP.  Rather than going after an individual service, distributor, ISP or VPN, this complaint is positioned as an action against an ecosystem of originators and distributors.

The infringing services are re-sold by Rays TV, which preloads the Infringing Service onto its own STBs, which are specially engraved with its “Rays TV” brand. Rays sells these STBs to Service Users, and also sells them to other dealers for resale.

An employee of Massive Wireless selling an illegal streaming device at retail. (Source: US District Court Eastern NY Case 1;23-cv-09071)

In turn, Rays TV has access to an online Reseller Panel that allows it to activate and deactivate subscriptions to the Infringing Service. Upon receiving a purchaser’s name and the Media Access Control Address (“MAC Address”) found on the bottom of their STB, Rays activates the Infringing Service for that Service User.

Further reading

DISH Network LLC (Plaintiff) against Massive Wireless Inc, Khaled Akhtar Rays IPTV LLC, Mumtazur Rehman Daud, and Does 1-10, DBA Glo TV. Document 1. Case 1:23-cv-09071. December 13, 2023. US District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

IBCAP spearheads $25.5 million copyright infringment lawsuit against Glo TV and Rays IPTV. Press release. December 13, 2023. IBCAP (International Broadcaster Coalition Against Piracy)

Why it matters

“As with other cases coordinated by IBCAP, we fully expect these defendants will be held accountable, and the Court will enjoin retailers, wholesalers, and others from supporting the Glo TV service,” said IBCAP’s Kuelling.

In fact, the range of damages and injunctions listed in this particular complaint have become a standard template for penalties in many of the lawsuits brought by DISH.

The complaint was filed in a US District Court in the state of New York, although it could conceivably been filed in any District since the Internet makes the infringing service available worldwide.

IBCAP is a coalition of international and U.S. content owners, broadcasters and distributors representing more than 190 television channels from the U.S. and around the world, including DISH Network.  It is a joint venture of DISH and Nagra.

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