DISH and its Sling subsidiary won a major victory in the fight against video pirates, getting the nod in a massive lawsuit against IPTV box distributor Louisville Media Box.
After a lengthy legal battle spanning back to 2021, Louisville Media Box was found to owe DISH $5.7 million in damages for illegally broadcasting and reselling content via pirate streaming boxes.
The company, run by Kevin Hibdon and James Meadows, sold streaming boxes that enabled users to circumvent providers like Sling’s content digital rights management safeguards. The boxes were preloaded with access codes to sneak around Sling’s protections. Hibdon and Meadows denied any wrongdoings.
The legal victory is just one of the ways Dish has gone after illegal IPTV platforms. While it’s an industry wide problem affecting companies around the world, Dish has been particularly aggressive in pursuing offenders.
DISH and Sling sent multiple cease-and-desist letters from December 2021 through March 2022, eventually leading to further legal action.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is an amendment to U.S. copyright law that established protections for online service providers if users violate copyrights and demand providers take down illegally sourced content.
“You violate [the trafficking] provision of the DMCA through your involvement with, and trafficking in, the Service because at least part of the Service is designed, produced, and has no purpose or use other than to circumvent the DRMs that protect the Programming,” DISH Network said in a letter.
The pirate traffickers refused to provide records, show up to court hearings, or do anything else to defend themselves. After Meadows refused to contribute to the discovery process, his own counsel excused himself from the case in April 2022, according to Torrent Freak.
Despite their lack of involvement in the case, Judge Regina Edwards found that 5,816 DMCA violations had merit out of the 7,424 total claims that DISH Network and Sling sought compensation.
They’d been doing this for years, according to Torrent Freak, and continued running after the cease and desist letters were delivered. They were even featured on local Kentucky radio stations 95.7 QMF, 100.1 WKQQ, and Kentucky Sports Radio.
This lawsuit isn’t the first time Hibdon and Meadows were found trafficking devices capable of pirating content or reselling such material themselves. However, it appears to be the first time they’ve been held accountable for violating the DCMA.