To deter and further prevent the unauthorized distribution of its shows in the Internet, broadcast giant ABS-CBN filed a suit in the US Federal District Court in Florida last Nov. 21 against 18 pirate sites for copyright and trademark infringement.
The Lopez-owned firm, along with its affiliates ABS-CBN Film Productions (Star Cinema) and ABS-CBN International, are seeking damages of over $12 million.
The defendants are partnerships or unincorporated business associations which operate through domain names registered with registrars in the US and elsewhere. Their domain names are the following:
2) freepinoytvshows.net, pinoylovetvshowreplay.com;
3) hapeetube.biz, lovelytube.biz, pinoy-telebisyon.biz, pinoy-telebisyon.org;
6) pinaytambayan.org; pinoy-ako.me;
16) telebyuwers.ph, telebyuwers.tv;
Based on the complaint, the defendants provide on-demand streaming performances of full-length versions of ABS-CBN’s TV shows and movies through their websites.
Defendants often display the latest content to their servers within minutes or hours of the original broadcast in the Philippines.
Further, they control the organization and presentation of the content by providing links to ABS-CBN shows and promote and advertise the content as ABS-CBN’s through search engine optimization and meta tags, including the use of ABS-CBN’s marks, then stream the shows for users’ viewing through their websites.
With the popularity of ABS-CBN films and TV shows, these sites drive significant traffic that enable them to reap profits from advertising and other revenue, the company said.
According to ABS-CBN AVP of Global Anti-Piracy Elisha Lawrence, “this is another phase in our relentless enforcement campaign to identify and punish pirates whose sites have been reported to contain malware that can cause substantial financial harm to innocent people who were just trying to view our shows and movies.”
This latest lawsuit comes on the heels of the police search and seizure by police in Victoria, Australia at the home of Mary Smith in the suburb of Barooga, New South Wales in Australia where numerous pirate ABS-CBN DVDs, DVD burners, and hundreds of pirated ABS-CBN movies on computer hard drives were located.
Recently, ABS-CBN also received a $10-million judgment from the US Federal District Court in Oregon against Jeffrey Ashby for damages from his infringing the copyrights and well-known trademarks of ABS-CBN by rebroadcasting ABS-CBN’s popular TV shows and movies on his pirate websites.
Among the many pirate sites that Ashby owned were watchfilipinotv.com, watchfilipinomovies.com, and pinoytalaga.com.
“We at ABS-CBN are committed to giving our viewers the best viewing experience for our content and protecting the rights of the talented creative and production teams that work hard to deliver these shows and films,” said ABS-CBN Global COO Raffy Lopez. “Online pirates undermine that, hence, we are determined to discourage and stop them.”