Last month, several major film and TV show companies filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Alejandro Galindo, the alleged operator of unlicensed IPTV provider Nitro TV, and 20 additional “Doe” defendants.
Companies owned by Columbia, Amazon, Disney, Paramount, Warner and Universal have claimed that Nitro TV offers subscription packages consisting of thousands of “live and curated TV channels” available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, throughout the United States and abroad.
Nitro TV’s 24/7 channels and VOD service, consisting of movies and TV shows, were, according to the lawsuit, of particular interest to entertainment companies, if their content was previously copied illegally. These included movies and TV shows including The Office, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Toy Story 3, Star Trek Beyond, Homecoming, and Joker.
Citing ‘unfair competition’ provided by Nitro’s service, the companies’ complaint alleged willful copyright infringement and in the event Nitro alleges third parties streamed content, a combined copyright infringement, each offense carrying a maximum damages limit. Legal fees of $150,000 for each violated act.
Similar to most lawsuits of this nature, the companies sought preliminary and permanent injunctions against not only all defendants but also against third-party companies acting in concert with them, such as domain registrars.
On April 23, Galindo filed a notice of non-opposition to the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction, but according to court records, he did not shut down Nitro TV. This claim appears to be supported by several YouTube videos discussing whether customers should abandon the service as soon as possible due to the lawsuit, even though it continues to operate.
District Court Judge Stephen V. Wilson is tasked with deciding whether Nitro TV should be shut down before trial. In an injunction issued Monday, he sided with the entertainment companies.
As copyright holders, claimants are entitled to the exclusive right to perform the copyrighted work publicly. 17 USC § 106 (4)He reads his order.
Streaming copyrighted works in full online without permission constitutes a violation of this exclusive right. By streaming copyrighted works on Nitro TV without permission, Defendant is potentially violating this exclusive right.
“Accordingly, the Plaintiffs are likely to succeed in their copyright claims. Because the Plaintiffs have successfully established probability of success in their direct infringement claims, the Court does not reach the Plaintiffs’ secondary infringement claims.”
Despite concluding that the plaintiffs are likely to succeed in their claims of copyright infringement against Nitro TV, Judge Wilson notes that he was required to consider whether, in the absence of an injunction, the plaintiffs would suffer “irreparable” harm. . He decided that this was indeed the case.
“The plaintiffs have shown that they are likely to suffer irreparable harm because of the continued infringement of their copyrights. Given the pervasive nature of the streaming services, it would be difficult for the plaintiffs to discern the full extent of the defendants copyright infringement.”
“Not only does the Defendant directly infringe the Plaintiffs’ copyrights, resulting in a financial loss to the Plaintiffs, but the Plaintiffs have provided evidence that illegally distributed copyrighted works may undermine the value of the Plaintiffs’ legitimate licenses. It cannot be measured and the value of copyrighted works generally diminished.”
Because preliminary injunctions can have an impact on all parties to a dispute, the judge also considered the possibility of harm for Nitro. It found that because the operator of the service did not contest that it was infringing the rights of the entertainment companies and that the illegal conduct did not merit “substantial equitable protection”, Nitro TV would suffer no harm.
His order stated, “The stock balance is strongly tilted in favor of the plaintiffs.”
Finally, the judge considered whether the initial injunction would be in the public interest. Likewise, he found in favor of the plaintiffs, stating that Nitro TV had presented no evidence to counter the claim that the alleged copyright violations provided no legal benefit to the public.
Monday’s preliminary injunction requires that Galindo and all individuals acting in concert with, involved in, or privately with him in connection with his alleged activities, immediately cease all direct and secondary copyright infringement relating to Plaintiffs’ copyrighted works, including all rights the public. Performances and reproduction.
In response to the requests in the original complaint, the judge specifically ordered Namecheap and Domain.com, the domain registrars for Tekkhosting.com and NitroIPTV.com respectively, to prevent the modification, sale, transfer, or deletion of the domains.
Along with the instructions to disable domains, the judge ordered that current WHOIS information must be retained along with all evidence of domain ownership.
The preliminary injunction can be obtained here (pdf)