Attorney Steve® IPTV Defense Essentials - Dish/Sling case comes to a surprising end
The alleged theft of television and movie content seems to be growing. Dish-Nagstar is very aggressive in protecting its IP rights. So are the Motion Picture Association and the A.C.E. Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment
These cases can lead to allegations of broadcast piracy or copyright infringement, or both. You may be asked to provide a detailed level of cooperation, along with turning over all domains used in the business and for other items, including a settlement amount. It is typical to get threats of referring the case out for criminal prosecution (although this is not what typically happens). If you receive a notice of infringement, call us to discuss your case in confidence at (877) 276-5084. We have helped many IPTV service providers, aggregators, and resellers defend their good names.
Plaintiffs DISH Network L.L.C. (“DISH”) and Sling TV L.L.C. (“Sling”) file this action against Defendants Daniel Scroggins, Steven Daugherty, and Dscroggs Investments LLC, individually and collectively doing business as PrimeStreams, for violations of the Federal Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. § 605, and Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 1201.
Plaintiffs are television service providers that deliver programming live and on-demand to millions of authorized, fee-paying subscribers in the United States by means of secured internet and satellite communications. Defendants provide an illicit streaming service known as PrimeStreams that allows users to access, without authorization, Plaintiffs' internet communications of television programming that were acquired by circumventing security measures implemented by Plaintiffs.
Watch Attorney Steve® Overview of Dish-Nagrastar Cases
DEFENDANTS' REBROADCASTING SCHEME
12. Plaintiffs deliver television programming to millions of subscribers nationwide using the public internet (the “Programming”). Plaintiffs' internet transmissions of the Programming are secured using digital rights management (“DRM”) technologies that include, based upon the subscriber's viewing platform, Google's Widevine DRM, Apple's FairPlay DRM, and Microsoft's PlayReady DRM. Each DRM has a key-based encryption and decryption process that is used to make the Programming accessible to only authorized subscribers that purchased access to the Programming from Plaintiffs and restricts unauthorized access to, copying, and retransmission of the Programming.
13. Defendants' PrimeStreams service was marketed and sold to users through Facebook and web domains that include primestreams.tv, primestreamstv.com, and primehosting.one (“PrimeStreams Domains”). On information and belief, Scroggins registered the PrimeStreams Domains.
14. PrimeStreams was advertised as a subscription-based streaming service providing over 3,000 channels, movies on demand, pay-per-view events, and sports programming, among other content, all for a low monthly fee.
15. The Programming has been retransmitted on the PrimeStreams service without Plaintiffs' authorization, thereby allowing PrimeStreams users to receive the Programming without paying the requisite subscription fee to Plaintiffs. Periodic monitoring conducted on a sampling of channels on the PrimeStreams service identified more than one hundred instances where PrimeStreams was configured to retransmit the Programming, including A&E, AMC, GAC Living, and The Cowboy Channel.
16. The Programming retransmitted on the PrimeStreams service was received from Plaintiffs' internet communications. Identifiers unique to Plaintiffs' internet communications were detected when viewing the Programming on the PrimeStreams service, thereby confirming that Plaintiffs' internet communications are the source of the Programming retransmitted on the PrimeStreams service.
17. On information and belief, Defendants directly engage in, aid and abet, or act within the scope of a principal-agent relationship with other persons in establishing subscription accounts with Plaintiffs and using those accounts to obtain the Programming retransmitted on the PrimeStreams service.
18. On information and belief, Defendants directly engage in, aid and abet, or act within the scope of a principal-agent relationship with other persons in circumventing DRMs that control access to the Programming in order to retransmit the Programming on the PrimeStreams service. The DRMs are believed to be circumvented using either a differential fault analysis attack where faults are injected into the DRM to disrupt its operation and create pathways to extract the keys necessary to decrypt the Programming, or a man-in-the-middle attack whereby customized software is used to bypass the DRM by intercepting the Programming passing from the DRM's decryption library to the user's viewing platform. 19. Defendants profit from the PrimeStreams service through the sale of codes that are designed and produced to enable a set-top box or other internet-enabled device to access servers used to retransmit the Programming on the PrimeStreams service (a “Device Code”). A valid Device Code is required to access the Programming on the PrimeStreams service.
20. Defendants sold Device Codes at the PrimeStreams Domains for approximately $10 per month of access to the PrimeStreams service. Purchasers could also select Device Codes that were valid for longer periods of time or that allowed for additional device connections at varying prices.
21. Defendants also sold Devices Codes at the PrimeStreams Domains in bundles or panels referred to as “Reseller Credits.” Device Code panels were marketed and sold to authorized resellers of the PrimeStreams service, which in turn sold the Device Codes to their own customers. Resellers purchased the Device Code panels from Defendants for approximately $2.50 to $4 per month of access to the PrimeStreams service, the price depending on factors such as the quantity purchased. Defendants received payments for Device Code panels by means that included wire transfers to DSI and checks made payable to DSI that were mailed to Daugherty.
22. On information and belief, Defendants' authorized resellers also sold Device Codes for rebranded versions of the PrimeStreams service that offered the Programming, going by names such as Firesticksteve or FSS, Bing TV, and Better Than Cable TV. Defendants are believed to operate the rebranded services as a continuation of, and in the same manner as, the PrimeStreams service. 23. Defendants were notified that their PrimeStreams service violated federal laws and was asked to cease and desist from such activity as early as September 24, 2021, but PrimeStreams has continued to operate.
Who are Dish and Sling?
Plaintiffs DISH Network L.L.C. and Sling TV L.L.C. make the following disclosures pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 7.1.
1. DISH Network L.L.C. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of DISH DBS Corporation, a corporation with publicly traded debt, and an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of DISH Network Corporation. DISH Network Corporation is publically owned and traded on the NASDAQ national market under the symbol “DISH.”
2. Sling TV L.L.C. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sling TV Holding L.L.C, which is owned by DISH Network L.L.C. and DISH Technologies L.L.C. DISH Technologies L.L.C. is an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of DISH DBS Corporation and DISH Network Corporation.
Claims asserted in the lawsuit
1. Violations of the FCA, 47 U.S.C. § 605(e)(4)
2. Violations of the DMCA, 17 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(1)(A)
3. Violations of the DMCA, 17 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(2)
Dish Sought Leave to Amend
Plaintiffs DISH Network L.L.C. and Sling TV L.L.C. (“Plaintiffs”) respectfully move for leave to file an amended complaint that:
(1) joins Brian Poynter (“Poynter”) and his company Brian P. Ventures LLC (“BPV”) as additional defendants on Plaintiffs' claims brought under the Federal Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. § 605(a), 605(e)(4) (“FCA”), and Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(2) (“DMCA”),
(2) withdraws Plaintiffs' claim under § 1201(a)(1) of the DMCA. Leave to amend should be granted because this motion is filed prior to the deadline for amendments set forth in the scheduling order and because the requested amendment is not futile, pursued in bad faith, or prejudicial to Defendants Daniel Scroggins (“Scroggins”), Dscroggs Investments LLC (“DSI”) and Steven Daugherty (“Daugherty,” together with Scroggins and DSI, “Defendants”). Plaintiffs' proposed amended complaint is attached as Exhibit 1.
The case ends with a settlement
To the surprise of many, the case ended with a settlement and a dismissal with prejudice closed after Dish sought leave to amend the complaint. It is not clear what motivated the settlement, and it is also not clear what the terms of the settlement were.
Contact an IPTV defense law firm
For more information call our IPTV defense hotline at (877) 276-5084 or email us through our contact form. We have helped many clients survive these types of legal demands which may involve court proceedings, or private settlements.