Leading US TV Operators In IP Clash With Russian TV Channels 24/03/2016 by Eugene Gerden for Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Leading Russian television channels, among which are First Channel, STS, Ren TV, TNT the Comedy, Nostalgia and some others, have filed a class action lawsuit related to intellectual property rights in a New York court against their US repeaters, including Infomir, Panorama TV, Goodzone TV. According to claimers, the involved US companies violate their intellectual property rights through the illegal distribution of Russian TV channels in North America, reducing the price of their packages up to US$5-15, compared to US$30-50 offered by authorised partners. The lawsuit (a copy of which is not available) was filed in the District Court of the Southern District of New York. Russian channels accused defendants of the unauthorised retransmission of television programs and the use of trademarks mainly in the territory of the United States. Natalya Sindeeva, CEO of Russian Dozhd TV channel According to Russian companies, the defendants intercept satellite signals of broadcasters in violation of Russian and the US legislation, distributing it in the United States for a monthly fee, and using the trademarks of Russian channels in their advertising. Websites accept electronic payments, after which the subscriber is offered to download IPTV-player or to set top box. The plaintiffs have asked the court to detect the owners of these websites, to stop further distribution of illegal content and to collect damages from defendants. The amount of damage and the amount of a claim are not disclosed. However, according to some sources in the Russian Ministry of Communications (the state agency responsible for the fight against piracy in Russia), it is estimated at several million dollars and will be officially announced later this year. Russian channels in the United States are cooperating with local partners – cable and satellite operators, which include the international version of Russian-speaking channels in their paid packets. At present, Russian channels are offered by such US operators as DirecTV, Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision and others. According to an official spokesman of STS, one of Russia’s leading TV channels, which is involved in litigations, in recent years the share of OTT-operators in the US broadcasting market has significantly increased, while many of them have started to distribute content illegally without contracts with copyright holders. According to an STS spokesman, such operators do not invest in the development of infrastructure and cannot ensure a broadcast signal of high quality. Working on such schemes, provides them an opportunity to maintain substantially lower prices for packages with Russian-speaking channels, compared to traditional cable operators. There is a possibility that similar schemes may be also used in the case of some European channels. According to Alexey Efimov, CEO of “First Channel. World Network”, a subsidiary of First Channel (Russia’s leading TV channel, which is also involved in litigation), this will not be the last lawsuit filed against the US companies. Efimov commented: “We had a lot of work on the inventory of the pirate market segment, where we discovered more than a hundred operators who use the internet as a means of signal delivery, stealing our content and forcing people to pay money for it.” According to Natalya Sindeeva, CEO of Dozhd, an opposition Russian TV channel, pirate broadcasting causes us a lot of damage and leads to the loss of income, including income from the direct sales of the channels’ subscription on the internet. In the meantime, representatives of defendants have already said that they consider the claim unfounded. According to them, some companies that are involved in litigation are just involved in the manufacture of IPTV-top boxes that do not provide unauthorised access to protected content, and just common reproducers. The used top boxes have no links to the content of Russian TV channels and are used by various companies around the world to provide a wide range of services. A spokesman of defendants also said that they do not use any trademarks on their websites and advertising campaigns. To date, the defendants have announced their plans to defend their rights and reputation through the filling of counter-claims against Russian complainants to the New York court. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Eugene Gerden may be reached at email@example.com."Leading US TV Operators In IP Clash With Russian TV Channels" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.