US Court levies $7m IPTV piracy judgement
October 7, 2021
By Colin Mann
The International Broadcaster Coalition Against Piracy (IBCAP) has confirmed that the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas entered a Final Judgment and Permanent Injunction against Universe IPTV and its individual owners.
The Court found that the individual defendants – Mohamed Omar, Hossam Abd Elghany, and Moustafa Maatouk – owned and operated the Universe IPTV service, illegally transmitted content to users in the United States, and directly infringed the copyright owner’s rights. The judgment includes a $7,050,000 (€6.1m) damage award against the owners finding that they “had knowledge of the infringing activity as shown by their receipt of numerous notices of infringement demanding that they cease transmitting the channels”, and they ignored all notices.
This follows IBCAP’s recent announcement of a lawsuit against iStar IPTV service and its owners, and naming one of its largest dealers, Atlas Electronics located in Dearborn, Michigan, as a defendant for selling the iStar IPTV service.
Importantly, the Federal Court in Texas also enjoined all hosting companies, CDNs, social media companies, and email providers from providing services that support the defendants’ enjoined activities. This includes an order specifically directing the disabling of 10 IP addresses used by Universe IPTV. Finally, the Court enjoined all defendants and their distributors and retailers from transmitting the channels at issue in the United States or distributing, providing, selling, or promoting the Universe IPTV service in the United States.
Universe IPTV is a leading Arabic language IPTV service sold through a large network of resellers. The lawsuit against Universe IPTV was coordinated by IBCAP and filed by its member company, DISH Network, in August 2020 after all cease and desist notices were ignored.
“IBCAP continues to make it clear that courts in the United States have no tolerance for those who break the law by operating or selling illegal IPTV services,” asserted Chris Kuelling, executive director of IBCAP. “The owners of this service are now liable for more than $7,000,000 in damages, the retailers are under court order to cease, and the Universe IPTV infrastructure will be disabled.Any dealer that continues to sell Universe IPTV will be in contempt of the Court’s order and liable for further damages. With our continued diligence, dealers of illegal IPTV services will quickly learn that it’s not worth risking their business by selling pirate IPTV services.”
The channels transmitted by the defendants and at issue in the case were the following: Aaj Tak; Al Hayah 1; ART Cima; ARY Digital; ARY News; ATN Bangla; ATN News; B4U Movies; CBC, CBC Drama; Channel-i; Dunya TV; Express Entertainment; Express News; Future TV; Geo News; Geo TV; Hekayat; Hum Masala; Hum Sitaray; Hum TV; Hum World; India Today; LBC; LBCI (a/k/a LDC); MBC1; MBC Drama; MBC Kids (a/k/a MBC3); MBC Masr; Melody Aflam; Melody Classic; NTV Bangla; SAB; Sony SET; SET Max; Zee Aflam; and Zee Alwan.