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Texas Court Fines Dish-Infringing Streamer $7M

A gavel on a desk
(Image credit: Robert Daly/Getty Images)

A Texas district court has found for Dish Network in the satellite TV service’s direct copyright infringement suit against streaming service Universe IPTV.

The court found that the Arabic language IPTV service — owned and operated by defendants Mohamed Omar, Hossam Abd Elghany, and Moustafa Maatouk — had provided access to Dish content to U.S. subscribers without authorization from the satellite provider, directly infringing Dish’s exclusive rights to distribute and perform that content.

The court ruled that Universe IPTV had knowledge of the copyright infringement and was guilty of both direct and contributory infringement.

As a result, said the court, Universe IPTV must pay Dish $7,050,000, which is $150,000 for each of 47 copyrighted works that were "maliciously infringed." Retailers are also enjoined from distributing the IPTV service.

It also enjoins the defendants, their officers, agents, servants, employees, attorneys, dealers, distributors, and retailers from streaming Universe IPTV, and prevents anyone from providing the following to Universe IPTV if it involves the Dish's copyrighted content: “any form of electronic storage, computer server, website hosting, file hosting (including data center and colocation, primary and backup storage, back-end), domain hosting, domain name registration, privacy protection for domain registration, anonymization for domain registration, proxy, content delivery network services, content acceleration (including traffic routing, bandwidth, content delivery networks ("CDN"), web content optimization, website/data security), advertising (including search based online advertising), social media services, and email services.”

The court also ordered 10 internet protocol addresses to be disabled and told the registrars of various Universe streaming domain names, including Universeiptv.com, that they had 48 hours to disable the websites or make them otherwise inaccessible to the public, then transfer them to Dish.

The lawsuit was coordinated by the International Broadcaster Coalition Against Piracy (IBCAP), of which Dish is a member. 

“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,“ IBCAP executive director Chris Kuelling said. “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.”

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.