Advanced Television

DISH wins copyright infringement case

June 16, 2023

By Colin Mann

Anti-piracy organisation the International Broadcaster Coalition Against Piracy (IBCAP) has confirmed  that a federal court in California has granted summary judgment on all claims in an IBCAP coordinated lawsuit against Jadoo TV and its US-based CEO, Sajid Sohail, finding them liable for direct, contributory and vicarious copyright infringement.

The case was brought by IBCAP member DISH Network L.L.C. in 2018 after DISH and IBCAP sent numerous notices of copyright infringement. The lawsuit includes claims for direct, contributory and vicarious infringement against Jadoo TV for airing certain IBCAP member content to which it did not have rights.

“This ruling goes further than many other copyright cases coordinated by IBCAP. Here, the owner and CEO of one of the most popular South Asian services offering infringing content will not be permitted to hide behind a corporate shield and has been found personally liable for the damages caused by his and his company’s copyright infringement,” said Chris Kuelling, executive director of IBCAP. “IBCAP and its members will not tolerate piracy, and the US courts have once again not only sided with us by handing down a judgment against an infringing service, but also holding an owner personally accountable.”

At the time of the filing of the lawsuit in 2018, Jadoo TV was one of the most popular providers of South Asian content in the US and elsewhere, distributing its service through ‘Jadoo TV’ set-top boxes and through its mobile application. The Jadoo TV set-top boxes were widely available online and in retail stores throughout South Asian communities in the US, Canada and worldwide.

The lawsuit also includes claims against Sajid Sohail individually on the basis that as the founder, CEO and majority shareholder of Jadoo TV, and participant and supervisor of the infringing conduct, Sohail should be held personally liable for the infringement by Jadoo TV and its employees. The lawsuit seeks damages and injunctive relief against Jadoo TV and Sohail.

In a ruling issued June 13th, 2023, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California granted all claims asserted by DISH against Jadoo TV, Inc. and Sohail individually and denied Sohail’s motion as to all claims. The Court found that Jadoo TV directly infringed and violated exclusive rights and materially contributed to and induced infringement by, among other things:

  • enhancing users’ access to the infringing content
  • being responsible for uploading and instigating distribution of the content
  • preloading its set-top boxes with infringing content
  • preconfiguring its set-top boxes to locate and install infringing content

The Court further found that because Sohail was the “guiding spirit” behind the infringement, had the “principal decision-making authority as to responding to infringement notices”, was the founder, CEO, director and majority shareholder, and had the ability to unilaterally change company policy, he is personally liable for the infringement. Instead of implementing simple measures to prevent infringement, Sohail was the “active and conscious force behind the infringing products”. The Court ordered additional briefing related to damages to be submitted within 45 days.

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