(CN) – An international group is pirating television broadcasts from China and selling them in the United States, Chinese and U.S. broadcasters and television service providers claim in court.
China Central Television, China International Communications, TVB Holdings (USA) and Dish Network on Friday filed a 76-paged federal complaint in Los Angeles accusing a long list of defendants of copyright and trademark infringements, unfair competition and business law violations.
Lead defendants Create New Technology (HK) Limited and HUA Yang International Technology Limited are based in Hong Kong; the third defendant, Shenzhen Greatvision Network Technology Ltd., is based in China; the fourth, Club TVpad Inc., in California. Also sued are a group of TVpad affiliates and several people and their dbas.
China Central et al. say the defendants provide customers with a TVpad box that for a onetime fee enables owners to watch unlicensed television programs and channels from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and other Asian nations.
The three lead defendants “have set up a pirate broadcasting network that … brazenly captures entire closed-circuit TV and TVB television channels and video-on-demand programming from Asia and streams that programming over the Internet” to users with the TVpad device in the United States, according to the complaint.
The defendants sell the TVpad for about $300 and have a free app store so users can download pirating software, China Central says.
It claims the TVpad service “accomplishes this massive piracy” by using a “peer-to-peer network” that streams video content made up of unauthorized copies of programs and stores them on servers in the United States and elsewhere.
The unauthorized programming causes “irreparable harm” to plaintiffs by eroding their market shares and prices for legitimate programming services and depriving them of their exclusive rights to provide the content, the broadcasters say.
They claim the defendants have “gone to great lengths to conceal their infringing activity and conceal their respective roles” in the piracy, including hiding the identities of makers of the software apps needed to make the TVpad work.
The defendants “have built their entire business around blatant copyright infringement” and use plaintiffs’ logos to falsely claim they are authorized to provide the viewing content, the broadcasters say.
Other defendants include Florida-based TVpad.com and Texas-based TVpad USA.
The broadcasters seek a permanent injunction, actual or statutory damages, disgorgement of unjust profits, restitution and costs.
They are represented by Carla McCauley with Davis Wright Tremaine in Los Angeles.
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