Those involved in the sale of unlicensed IPTV services appear to be coming under attack from an increasing number of angles.
Just this week, the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment confirmed that it was behind the closure of previously popular IPTV service Vader Streams.
Just days earlier, the UK’s Federation Against Copyright Theft said it had served cease-and-desist notices in 16 locations to individuals involved in the supply of infringing sports streams, with at least some acting as resellers of ‘pirate’ IPTV services.
Today, another well-known provider is added to the growing list.
IPGuys is a recognized brand in the IPTV space. It has no website of its own, with subscribers to the service gaining access through a network of resellers. For how much longer that will be the case will remain to be seen, as the service is now being sued in the United States.
In a lawsuit filed by DISH Networks and NagraStar yesterday, the broadcaster names Ontario, Canada-based Tomasz Kaczmarek as the operator of IPGuys.
“Kaczmarek operates an illicit streaming service called IPGuys, where he acquires DISH’s satellite broadcasts of television programming and retransmits that programming without authorization to customers of his IPGuys service,” the complaint reads.
According to DISH, Brooklyn, New York-based husband and wife team John and Julia Defoe participate in the “rebroadcasting scheme” by creating and maintaining DISH subscription accounts that are used to supply the IPGuy’s service with DISH’s programming.
The additional Does 1-10 are described as “one or more persons” responsible for DISH subscription accounts that were created with false information and used to supply DISH content to the scheme.
DISH says the accounts were created through a former retailer in Brooklyn named Ratiann Enterprise Inc. and registered to addresses in the same area. The company hopes that the discovery process will enable it to identify the people behind those accounts.
The suit states that DISH used technical means to determine that the content being offered by IPGuys originated from its satellite broadcasts.
“During testing of the IPGuys service, encoded messages delivered as part of DISH’s satellite communications were detected on the DISH Programming retransmitted on the IPGuys service, confirming the DISH Programming provided by Kaczmarek is originating from DISH’s satellite communications and DISH subscriber accounts,” the complaint reads.
Seven of the so-called “seeder accounts” (the accounts that allegedly provided the content to IPGuys) shared one or more credit cards as the source of payment and all had either the same passwords or password hints, DISH adds.
Furthermore, the same credit cards were also used to pay for “at least twenty” additional subscriber accounts established with false information. One of the twenty accounts was held in the name of John Defoe, DISH claims, adding that Kaczmarek sent Julia Defoe “tens of thousands of dollars”, while specifically mentioning DISH.
From here, DISH begins to tackle some of the resellers of the IPGuys service, which offered the roughly $15 per month packages to the public. The primary sellers are named in the suit as Romie IPTV World, IPTV Bazaar, GetIPTVOnline and IPGuys-Live. Two secondary sellers are named as The Napster and Miracle Media Box Media.
DISH states that Kaczmarek and the Defoes were given notice by the company that their activities violated various aspects of the Federal Communications Act back in April 2019, but the IPGuys service continued to operate.
As a result, DISH is now demanding a broad permanent injunction against all defendants, plus actual or statutory damages of between $10,000 and $100,000 per violation, plus costs.
DISH’s complaint against the IPGuys operation can be found here (pdf)
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Written by David Minister
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