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Omniverse Wants HovSat to Pay for Video Sins

Having already pointed the finger at HovSat for getting it into legal hot water, Omniverse One World Television now wants its erstwhile partner for a now-defunct OTT-TV service to cover a $50 million court settlement.

Omniverse filed its motion and proposed order for a default judgement against HovSat, the former New Jersey-based private cable operator, on January 30 with the California Central District Court. The motion arrives more than two months after Omniverse was hit with a $50 million consent judgement stemming from a case in the same court in which several major Hollywood studios, represented by The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), alleged that Omniverse and its CEO, Jason DeMeo, violated copyright law with its OTT-TV service.

Before the ceiling came crashing down, Omniverse had argued that its streaming TV service -- offered through a range of partnerships with companies such as TikiLive, Flixon and Clikia -- was based on a joint venture with HovSat. That company purportedly held a long-term contract with DirecTV affixed with "no limitations" regarding US distribution and delivery method. Full documentation of the HovSat-DirecTV contract in question never materialized in court.

Chasing down HovSat
As the ACE-led case proceeded, Omniverse later pinned the blame on HovSat and its owner, Shant Hovnanian. Omniverse claimed that HovSat misled it to believe that it held valid licenses and contracts with DirecTV that allowed for the national distribution of OTT-TV services. Omniverse also sought indemnification while accusing HovSat of breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation and a breach of "good faith and fair dealing."

Even if the motion is granted, collecting from HovSat and Hovnanian could be problematic. Hovnanian is the subject of a default judgement filed last July in a separate civil tax enforcement proceeding involving $16 million in alleged penalties. According to court documents, Hovnanian is believed to be in Armenia.

Last fall, when Omniverse first tried to seek indemnification while also accusing HovSat of other wrongdoing, it told the court that Hovnanian's attorneys had "not come forward to support the legal position of HovSat."

According to TorrentFreak, a site specializing in file-sharing and privacy and copyright issues that first reported on Omniverse's latest motion, Omniverse stands a "good chance" of winning the proposed default judgement given that HovSat so far has failed to defend itself in court.

But attempts are being made. Omniverse's legal representation noted in an attached court filing that the motion and proposed judgement were served on January 30 to Arthur P. Havinghorst II ESQ, referred to as the "registered agent" of HovSat.

Remnants of the Omniverse debacle continue to live on elsewhere.

Late last year, TikiLive, a former partner of Omniverse, filed a lawsuit against a pair of purported Omniverse investors as well as a Florida-based law firm that once represented both Omniverse and TikiLive.

In that suit, filed in a Florida court, TikiLive alleges that two Omniverse financiers -- David Cash and his brother, Michael Cash -- mispresented several material facts to TikiLive about Omniverse's business and licensing agreements with various programmers. TikiLive is also charging Winter Park, Fla.-based law firm Byrd Campbell with alleged professional negligence.

Want to know more about the Omniverse saga? Please check out the stories below.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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