A federal judge has ordered all Internet service providers in the United States to block three pirate streaming services operated by Doe defendants who never showed up to court and hid behind false identities.
The blocking orders affect Israel.tv, Israeli-tv.com, and Sdarot.tv, as well as related domains listed in the rulings and any other domains where the copyright-infringing websites may resurface in the future. The orders came in three essentially identical rulings (see here, here, and here) issued on April 26 in US District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Each ruling provides a list of 96 ISPs that are expected to block the websites, including Comcast, Charter, AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. But the rulings say that all ISPs must comply even if they aren’t on the list:
It is further ordered that all ISPs (including without limitation those set forth in Exhibit B hereto) and any other ISPs providing services in the United States shall block access to the Website at any domain address known today (including but not limited to those set forth in Exhibit A hereto) or to be used in the future by the Defendants (“Newly Detected Websites”) by any technological means available on the ISPs’ systems. The domain addresses and any Newly Detected Websites shall be channeled in such a way that users will be unable to connect and/or use the Website, and will be diverted by the ISPs” DNS servers to a landing page operated and controlled by Plaintiffs (the “Landing Page”).
That landing page is available here and cites US District Judge Katherine Polk Failla’s “order to block all access to this website/service due to copyright infringement.”
“If you were harmed in any way by the Court’s decision you may file a motion to the Federal Court in the Southern District of New York in the above case,” the landing page also says.
“Gone to great lengths to conceal themselves”
The three lawsuits were filed by Israeli TV and movie producers and providers against Doe defendants who operate the websites. Each of the three rulings awarded damages of $7.65 million. TorrentFreak pointed out the rulings in an article Monday.
The orders also contain permanent injunctions against the defendants themselves and other types of companies that provided services to the defendants or could do so in the future. That includes companies like Cloudflare, GoDaddy, Google, and Namecheap.
In all three cases, none of the defendants responded to the complaints and did not appear in court, the judge’s rulings said. “Defendants have gone to great lengths to conceal themselves and their ill-gotten proceeds from Plaintiffs’ and this Court’s detection, including by using multiple false identities and addresses associated with their operations and purposely deceptive contact information for the infringing Website,” the rulings say.
The defendants are liable for copyright infringement and violated the anti-circumvention provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the judge wrote, describing the infringement as follows:
Through the Website, Defendants have been re-broadcasting and streaming Plaintiffs’ original content, broadcasting channels and TV services which are only authorized for broadcasting and/or viewing in the territory of the State of Israel and under a license. The Infringing Broadcasting includes original content produced and owned by Plaintiffs, mostly in Hebrew, and also from major studios in the United States and elsewhere, licensed to Plaintiffs for broadcasting exclusively in Israel (except as expressly licensed for broadcast in the United States).
Rulings further target web hosts and banks
The plaintiffs are United King Film Distribution, D.B.S. Satellite Services (1998), HOT Communication Systems, Reshet Media, and Keshet Broadcasting. While the plaintiffs “transmit their programming in an encrypted form,” the defendants’ “various services and hardware permit end-user consumers to bypass the Plaintiffs’ encryption to view Plaintiffs’ content,” the rulings said.
The judge ordered domain registrars and registries to transfer the domain names to the plaintiffs. The rulings include injunctions against “third parties providing services used in connection with Defendants’ operations,” including web hosts, content delivery networks, DNS providers, VPN providers, web designers, search-based online advertising services, and others.
Financial institutions face similar bans on doing business with the blocked websites. The rulings directly target the defendants’ monetary accounts, saying that plaintiffs “shall have the ongoing authority to serve this Order on any party controlling or otherwise holding such accounts” until they have “recovered the full payment of monies owed to them by any Defendant under this Order.” This applies to PayPal, banks, and payment providers in general.