US pay-TV platform DISH has filed two lawsuits with the aim of ending distribution of Arabic channels and content for which it has the exclusive licences. The complaints against Spider-TV and Tiger Star are similar, alleging that the entities are capturing broadcasts of certain TV channels licensed exclusively to DISH, including MBC and Al Jazeera Arabic News, and unlawfully retransmitting them over the Internet to their respective customers throughout the US.
“We feel it is our responsibility to ensure the channels and shows we pay to carry exclusively are not pirated and sold illegally,” asserted Timothy Messner, executive vice president and general counsel at DISH. “Despite our best efforts to ask both Spider-TV and Tiger Star voluntarily to cease transmitting the channels without authorisation, they have continued to distribute the content, leaving us no course but legal action.”
Beginning in 2017, DISH sent over 100 notices to Spider-TV, Tiger Star, and their respective Internet Service Providers demanding that they cease transmitting television content in violation of DISH’s exclusive rights. Spider-TV and Tiger Star ignored those demands.
The Protected Channels that DISH has the exclusive rights to carry, and that Spider-TV and Tiger Star distributed, include Al Arabiya, Al Hayah 1, Al Jazeera Arabic News, Al Nahar, ART Cinema, Dream 2, Future TV, Iqraa, LDC, MBC1, Murr TV (aka MTV Lebanon), NBN, New TV (aka Al Jadeed), Noursat and ONTV, among others.
Both Spider-TV and Tiger Star employ similar means to deliver the pirated content to their users. As outlined in each complaint: “Defendants capture live broadcast signals of the Protected Channels, transcode these signals into a format useful for streaming over the Internet, transfer the transcoded content to one or more servers provided, controlled, and maintained by Defendants, and then transmit the Protected channels to users of the Service through OTT delivery, including users in the United States.”