Piracy

Default Judgment and $1.6 Million Damages Against IPTV Box Seller Granted

By Bill Toulas / March 15, 2021

The U.S. District Court of Texas has approved the request of ABS-CBN Corporation for a default judgment against Anthony Brown, a Texan accused of selling pre-configured pirate IPTV boxes on Facebook. Back in August, the broadcaster and rightsholder had asked the court to consider an amount of $2.1 million as compensation for the damage incurred by the defendant’s actions. Still, the court has decided to go with $1.6 million, $100,000 for violations relevant to the Communications Act, and another $1.5 million in damages under the Lanham Act.

Although the amount is below what ABS-CBN requested, it is still a very substantial compensation which will be very hard for A. Brown to cover. Also, it is way disproportionate to the amount of money that the defendant must have made from the illegal operations, at least based on the indiction. The fact that Brown decided not to defend himself in court, though, hasn’t helped much in mitigating that massive compensation though.

According to the evidence presented by ABS-CBN, Brown sold at least ten pirate TV boxes via Facebook to eight “customers,” two of which were sold to an ABS investigator. Of course, the scale of this illegal operation was much larger, as the defendant has previously admitted to controlling multiple Facebook accounts and also having a dedicated market on a website to sell pirate TV boxes.

Typically, the man was selling these boxes for $150, shipping them anywhere in the United States. However, he still didn’t run the pirate content distribution platforms, so besides the initial cut, he didn’t get to profit from anything else. Thus, even if he sold a significant number of devices, the profits would be far from the amount approved for compensation.

What played a key role in this decision is the fact that the defendant openly counterfeited ABS’s trademarks on Facebook, harming the brand’s reputation by promoting illegal services under their name.

Finally, A. Brown’s audacity to promote pirate boxes on Facebook was complemented by extreme carelessness on the payment part, too, as he was receiving money on a PayPal account linked to a real bank account with his real name and address. It was a trivial task for the California investigators to identify and arrest the man.



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