A group of streaming services and studios are taking legal aim at Setvnow, a subscription video service based in Florida that, they claim, is selling a package of TV channels, movies and other content illegally.
The complaint, filed in the United States District Court Central District of California, Western Division, comes way of a group that includes, Amazon, Netflix, Columbia Pictures, Disney, Paramount Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal City Studios, Universal and Warner Bros., over allegations that Setvnow is pirating content and “inducing mass infringement” of copyrighted material by packaging it into a service that could look legitimate to the untrained eye.
The service being targeted, called Set TV, is offering a lineup of more than 500 channels that starts at $20 per month (for up to three devices per account) via an app for Android TV boxes, Android phones, Amazon Fire TV devices and browsers. Set TV has also set up a way to deliver service using Kodi add-ons.
Set TV’s basic package of hundreds of channels includes BBC News, MSNBC, CNBC, ABC, CBS, HBO, Nickelodeon, A&E, Bravo, MTV, NBA TV, ESPN, among many others. In addition to selling the basic package on a month to month basis, Set TV is also selling discounted three-month, six-month and 12-month subscriptions.
Set TV, which also sells a pre-loaded, internet-connected TV device for $89 that runs its service (called the SP-110), notes on its web site that it’s selling the service worldwide to anyone with an internet connection. In addition to selling the service directly, Set TV has also set up a reseller and affiliate program.
However, the plaintiffs claim that Setvnow is obtaining content and distributing it illegally.
“For the customers who use Setvnow, the service provides hallmarks of using authorized streaming services—a user-friendly interface and reliable access to popular content—but with a notable exception: the customers only pay money to Defendants, not to Plaintiffs and other content creators upon whose copyrighted works Defendants’ business depends,” the suit contends.
Setvnow has been asked for comment.
The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), a global coalition that identifies and coordinates strategies against alleged content pirates on behalf of partners that include the SVOD services and studios, said it filed the suit against the service and two individuals, Jason Labossiere, said to be the site operator and domain registrant of www.setvnow.com, and Nelson Johnson, a partner in Set Broadcast LLC.
ACE has also gone after other services it believes to be accessing and distributing content illegally, including TickBox (a preliminary injunction was handed down in mid-February) and Dragon Box that, ACE claims, used software tools to “scour the internet” for sources of infringing content and assembling them into illegal, paid video services.
ACE and its backers have been on the legal offensive amid a growing threat from a new class of video pirates that have become increasingly sophisticated via the use of fancy interfaces along with customer service infrastructures that help these illegal services appear legitimate to consumers.
“The technology makes the presentation of these pirate sites look pretty slick and, maybe to the untrained eye, seem halfway legitimate,” James Assey, executive vice president at the NCTA – The Internet & Television Association, said in an interview for a Multichannel News feature story on the topic.
“This is a whole new source of content,” noted Jan van Voorn, executive vice president and chief of global content protection at the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). “Just going after the box sellers is not going to impact this whole range of players in this field.”
“It can be used anywhere in the world that has reasonable broadband penetration and speed,” Mark Mulready, vice president of cybersecurity services at Irdeto, said. “It’s a significant and growing threat.”