In 2018, broadcaster DISH Network sued the people behind pirate IPTV service SetTV.
The defendants were eventually ordered to pay DISH $90 million in damages and comply with the terms of a permanent injunction that prevented them from operating a similar service in the future. This February, DISH alleged that the terms of the injunction had been breached.
A month later, DISH and NagraStar followed up with a new lawsuit claiming that former SetTV operators Jason LaBossiere, Sean Beaman, and Stefan Gollner had launched three new pirate IPTV services/brands.
According to the complaint, ExpediteTV, Mundo TV, and Must TV offered DISH copyrighted content. As a result, the men are liable for breaches of the DMCA and Federal Communications Act, and are in contempt of court.
LaBossiere Slams DISH in Answer to Complaint
LaBossiere has now responded to DISH’s comprehensive allegations which are partly based on evidence obtained from telephone conversations recorded at the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office in Florida. LaBossiere comes out swinging, reminding the court that after eight years of Department of Justice litigation, a massive judgment against DISH put the company into financial turmoil.
“Pursuant to a six-week trial in 2016, Dish Network L.L.C. (‘Dish’) was fined $280,000,000, of which it agreed to pay $210,000,000 in 2020 after Dish was found in violation of federal and state law. Since 2017, Dish has been struggling to keep its stock price up from its 2015 and 2017 peaks,” LaBossiere’s answer begins.
“In order to find new profit centers, this $15.49 billion dollar company will stop at nothing to bully people into settlements to help its bottom line.”
LaBossiere Admits Involvement With ExpediteTV
Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the level of detail in DISH’s new complaint, LaBossiere does not deny being involved in ExpediteTV. However, he claims that DISH’s allegations lack nuance. Any involvement, he says, was aimed at turning his “prior distribution channel” into a legitimate business offering lawful licensed content, for which DISH is now seeking to “punish” him.
“Dish gained the information in this case from subpoenas issued in a closed federal case issued with no notice to any party or court. The federal court enter [sic] an order exclaiming that it did not have jurisdiction. Clearly, Dish will do anything to add to its bottom line,” his counsel informs the court.
ExpediteTV Was Supposed to Be Licensed and Legal
LaBossiere then recalls another blast-from-past – Ominverse One World Television – an IPTV company that agreed to pay the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment $50 million in damages after content licensing deals it believed it had in place were found to be invalid.
“While LaBossiere was initially working with ExpediteTV and Beaman to create a new platform with licensed content through Omniverse One World Television, Inc (‘Omniverse’), LaBossiere’s limited involvement was to find a middleware company for the licensed content and reviewed and made recommendations for the initial marketing blast in 2018,” his answer reads.
Noting that Omniverse eventually shut down, LaBossiere suggests that his co-defendants in the current lawsuit may have taken a different approach and if that involved rebroadcasting DISH content, he wasn’t a participant.
“Apparently, and according to the Plaintiff’s Complaint, others that may have been involved with ExpediteTV changed the course of ExpediteTV’s business model from content licensed from Omniverse, likely as the result of Omniverse no longer offering its service,” his rebuttal adds.
Involved in Expedite TV, Never Heard of Mundo TV and Must TV
LaBossiere admits that ExpediteTV was advertised as a subscription-based streaming service “providing over 800+ channels” but says that his involvement stopped short of infringing DISH’s rights. Any ‘device codes’ (IPTV subscriptions) processed through ExpediteTV related only to licensed content and if they went beyond that, he has no knowledge.
Additionally, LaBossiere admits that one or more people utilized an address related to him to register companies connected to ExpediteTV but he denies benefiting from them to the extent that involved any DISH content.
Regarding the other IPTV brands mentioned in the lawsuit (Mundo TV and Must TV), LaBossiere says that before reading the DISH lawsuit, he’d never heard of them and he had nothing to do with the processing of their credit card payments.
“LaBossiere prays this Court will deny the relief requested by Plaintiffs, issue sanctions against Plaintiff for wrongfully issuing subpoenas in a closed case and for a wrongful purpose, and award attorney’s fees and costs against Plaintiffs,” he concludes.
Separately, defendant Stefan Gollner has filed a motion with the court asking to be dismissed from the action for lack of personal jurisdiction. He wants the court to resolve this jurisdictional challenge prior to disposing of DISH’s motion for a preliminary injunction.
The related court documents can be found here (1,2,3, pdf)
From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.