Media giant ABS-CBN has won a $21-million lawsuit against 21 pirate websites on Tuesday, November 16, as per the default judgment released by the Court in the Southern District of Florida.
According to a press release, ABS-CBN will be awarded trademark damages in excess of $1 million against each of the 21 pirate website operators. The court approved ABS-CBN’s request for said damages due to the defendants’ no-show appearance in court and no participation in the lawsuit.
The following pirate domains are illegal streaming portals that have been providing free access to ABS-CBN content in the US and around the world:
Additional damages worth $30,000 to $90,000 will also be paid by six of the defendants due to copyright infringement, with another $10,000 paid by thefilipinochannel.su for cybersquatting damages for its domain name, which is similar to an ABS-CBN registered trademark.
Aside from monetary damages, the court’s order includes a provision that requires advertising service providers to turn over any restrained revenue generated by the pirate websites, and for the pirate websites to give their domain names to ABS-CBN.
According to the press release, “if the domains’ current registrars do not comply, ABS-CBN may escalate the order to the controlling registry, which will then be instructed to put the domains on hold and remove them from the TLD zone files.”
“There is a way to stop pirates and the US court system is making it possible. The demand for ABS-CBN content around the world remains high and many will capitalize on this illegally. They can try, but sooner rather than later, the long arm of the law will catch them,” ABS-CBN Global Anti-Piracy and Content Security Head Elisha Lawrence said.
ABS-CBN’s original content can be streamed by viewers on ABS-CBN’s OTT platform iWantTFC and the TFC channel on major cable and satellite providers.
The network filed the lawsuit “ABS-CBN Corporation, et al. vs. 123FULLPINOYMOVIESHUB.COM, et al.,” on April 21. The US District Court for the Southern District of Florida earlier issued a preliminary injunction and served a notice to take down the domains.
ABS-CBN is among the biggest media companies in the Philippines, with businesses and subsidiaries involved in TV and movie production, artist management, music production, and international production and distribution, among others.
It was forced to shut down its free TV services on May 5, 2020, after Philippine legislators failed to give ABS-CBN a new franchise. In the Philippines, a media company must have a franchise from Congress to air on free TV. – Rappler.com