Video Pirate Owes Dish $31 Million, Says Texas Court

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(Image credit: Witthaya Prasongsin via Getty Images)

A Texas court has told South Asian IPTV service ChitramTV to pay Dish Network over $31 million dollars for poaching international channels from the satellite service and delivering the video to subs over the internet.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas said ChitramTV had willfully infringed on over 207 copyrights and imposed the maximum penalty of $150,000 per for a total of $31,050,000.

Dish monitored the service and discovered in 2015 that ChitramTV had poached 207 programs from 19 international channels to which Dish had exclusive rights. Dish sent infringement notices--164 of them the court said--telling ChitramTV to stop immediately, which it did according to the court, only to resume the poaching practice a couple of years later.

Dish filed suit in March 2021.

Also: Texas Court Fines Dish-Infringing Streamer $7M

Dish will get the $31 million plus 15% interest, and ChitramTV and any resellers are permanently enjoined from airing Dish channels in the U.S. or to promote set-top boxes, subscriptions, or services that provide access to Dish's channels or works airing on those channels.

Resellers have until Friday (Nov. 16) to comply.

Dish also gets all the domains ChitramTV was using to distribute the content, or might use in the future, including Chitram.TV.

The suit was coordinated with The International Broadcaster Coalition Against Piracy (IBCAP).

“We are very pleased with this legal victory as it will enable us and our members to shut down one of the most popular South Asian pirate services operating in the U.S.," said IBCAP Executive Director Chris Kuelling. "The injunctions imposed, along with the transfer of current and future domains associated with ChitramTV, will have a devastating effect on ChitramTV and any dealer selling ChitramTV," he said. "A dealer that continues to sell ChitramTV after receiving notice of the injunction will be in contempt of the Court’s order and liable for further damages. Dealers should be aware that it’s not worth risking their business by selling pirate IPTV services.” ■

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.