After winning a court order last year to shut down Shava TV, a video streaming service found to be distributing international programming illegally, Dish is now training its sights on retailers in New York that are allegedly selling devices that deliver the pirated offering.
The complaint (pdf), filed by Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) on July 3 with the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York, alleges that two New York-area stores, ABC Wireless NYC and Family Phone, are selling Shava TV boxes. The complaint also accuses a company called the Goyal Group of promoting, selling and distributing Shava TV boxes to several dealers, including ABC Wireless NYC and Family Phone.
The suit targeted to those box distributors arrives more than a year after a district court in Virginia ruled to shut down Shava TV, and entered a $25.65 million judgement, after finding that Shava TV was streaming and selling a lineup of international programming illegally to US consumers.
But in brazen fashion, Shava TV, despite the court order, continues to run its business on the Internet and at retail stores, notes TorrentFreak, a news outlet dedicated to copyright and piracy issues that spotted the Dish lawsuit. As of this writing, the Shava TV website (PDF) continues to operate. Dish has been asked for further comment.
Per Dish’s complaint, the stores and the distributors named in the complaint continue to sell Shava TV boxes and service plans despite allegedly having knowledge that they are providing access to TV channels exclusively licensed to Dish, and ignoring that Shava TV is faced with a permanent injunction from using a peer-to-peer network to access and distribute licensed programming illegally.
The lawsuit also argues that the retailers continue to promote and sell Shava TV boxes despite multiple demands from Dish that they cease and desist.
Dish is taking the additional step of targeting retailers directly as it seeks to protect an OTT-delivered subscription video business that sells a wide variety of international channels and programming packages to U.S. consumers. To enable the service, Dish has secured domestic OTT distribution agreements with various content partners, including Al Jazeera Media Network, GloboSat Entertainment, and MBC for channels such as Al Jazeera, Geo News, NTV Bangla and Sahara One.
That service, formerly known as Dish World and currently branded as Sling TV International, is sold directly to consumers and, more recently, via Comcast's Internet-connected X1 set-top box platform. (See Sling International App Now Available on X1.)
Dish is also piling on the legal pressure as it and other pay-TV providers come under siege by a new breed of sophisticated pirates that use streaming devices, fancy user interfaces and customer service backends, to sell and distribute illegal OTT TV services that might look and feel legitimate to some consumers.
A threat that has grabbed the attention of pay-TV providers and programmers is the use of unofficial add-on configuration on media players outfitted with Kodi open-source software. According to a study released last year by Sandvine, some 8.8% of homes in North America had at least one Kodi device actively installed, with 68.8% using it in tandem with an add-on that supplies unlicensed content.
Of recent note, a group that includes Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. has lobbed a lawsuit at Setvnow, a service based in Florida that, they claim is selling packages of TV channels and other content illegally using streaming devices and Kodi add-ons.
— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading