U.S. Court Says Stream Stealer NitroTV Must Pay $51 Million

Online video piracy
A U.S. District Court found Nitro TV infringed on almost 2,000 “works.” (Image credit: Bill Hinton)

A U.S. District Court in California has ordered unlicensed video-streaming service Nitro TV to stop pirating streaming video, including movies and pirated TV station signals — and pay more than $50 million dollars for willfully infringing the copyrights of almost 2,000 “works.”

That figure represents $150,000 apiece for each infringed work, the maximum penalty, and includes court costs and attorneys fees.

Not only did Nitro steal and sell the content, but it had resellers marketing the illegal service worldwide and taking a cut of the ill-gotten gains.

Also: Alliance Shuts Down Illegal Soccer Streaming Ring

The default judgment — the defendants failed to participate in the suit — was handed down against nine parties operating the websites TekkHosting.com, NitroIPTV.com, Lalaluhosting.com, and Nitro.ltd, resolving a lawsuit filed by Columbia Pictures, Amazon, The Walt Disney Co., NBCUniversal, Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros., all members of the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE).

Those sites, which had been collecting $20 per month from subscribers for thousands of live and curated channels of pirated content — The Office, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Toy Story 3 and Star Trek Beyond, among many others — must now be transferred over to the studios.

The video pirates also delivered programming from ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and The CW affiliates in Los Angeles, promoting their stolen content on YouTube and Facebook, the court said.

The court had already granted a preliminary injunction against Nitro TV; now, it is permanent.

“ACE applauds Judge Frimpong’s strong ruling against NitroTV, which underscores the direct and serious harm that piracy operations inflict on the legal marketplace and creative economy,” Motion Picture Association senior executive VP and global general counsel Karyn Temple said. “The MPA and ACE are committed to pursuing action, through courts or other legal authorities, against anyone who infringes upon our members’ rights.” ▪️

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.