Advanced Television

USA: Court rejects Channel One’s appeal

April 17, 2020

For 4 years, Russian TV broadcasters have been unsuccessfully accusing Infomir LLC of illegal broadcasting in the United States. On September 26th 2019, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that misconduct by the Russian TV broadcasters and Kartina and their lawyers involving alleged “evidence” against Infomir LLC required that the alleged “evidence” be barred from the case.

The Court also ordered the plaintiffs and their lawyers to reimburse the legal costs associated with the investigation of this alleged “evidence” and the application for sanctions against the plaintiffs. The amount of the award is now being reviewed by the Court. On March 26th 2020, the District Judge rejected plaintiff’s request to overturn this important decision against plaintiffs.

Since 2016, Infomir LLC has been accused of illegally broadcasting Channel One content in the United States. The scandal involves a group of Russian broadcasters, among which are Channel One Russia, Kartina.TV, CTC, New Channel, and Rain TV-Channel.

The alleged “evidence” was a sworn affidavit submitted to the Court by an employee of the attorneys representing plaintiffs. Using a Wireshark traffic analyzer, he connected to the Aura HD mediaplayer and claimed to have tracked the source of the unauthorized IPTV stream. He claimed the broadcast source was a domain address associated with Infomir.

In court hearings and in the information exchange required by the Court, broadcasters provided only a screenshot of the Wireshark analysis. When Infomir LLC requested the full Wireshark report and the Court ordered plaintiffs to provide it, the broadcasters and their lawyers at first refused to provide it and for two years claimed that the original report file never existed and later claimed it was accidentally “lost”. When confronted with factual evidence developed by Infomir LLC’s lawyers that these explanations were false, the full file was eventually provided and from it, Infomir LLC’s forensic expert demonstrated that the data was deliberately misrepresented. The Infomir domain in question was a mere statistics server and couldn’t be the source of the video. The main evidence, therefore, turned out to be false.

Court ruling

Despite the fact that Channel One Russia Worldwide and its partners tried to challenge the decision made in September by the Magistrate Judge overseeing the case, the District Judge confirmed it. On March 26th, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York left the Magistrate Judge’s 73 page decision about broadcaster’s misconduct unchanged.

The proceedings are ongoing. The Russian companies have already lost the right to use their alleged main “evidence” against Infomir LLC.

It is worth noting that trials are also taking place between the representatives of the plaintiffs in the case of piracy in the United States. On July 23rd 2019, the Moscow City Court issued a ruling on the application of Channel One requesting a preliminary injunction against the Kartina TV player. The application allowed the viewing of TV channels, the rights to which belong to Channel One.

About the parties

Infomir Group is a Ukrainian manufacturer of set-top boxes and software for IPTV/OTT providers. More than 4,500 projects have been launched in 151 countries using its solutions.

Channel One Russia Worldwide is a subsidiary of Channel One Russia. It distributes content that is licensed to broadcast outside of Russia. The audience of the TV company exceeds 250 million viewers worldwide.

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