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A coalition of Hollywood studios, with the addition of Amazon and Netflix, has obtained an injunction to restrict Jason Tusa, the alleged operator of Altered Carbon, Area 51, and several other pirate IPTV services. Tusa had previously agreed not to operate unlicensed platforms, but allegedly violated that agreement. A court has now accepted that the platforms be shut down and their domain names deactivated.
In early July, in a California court, Warner Bros., several companies Universal, Amazon, Columbia, Disney, Netflix, Paramount, Sony and other content creators filed a lawsuit against Jason Tusa, the alleged operator of Altered Carbon , Area 51, and other pirate IPTV services.
According to the complaint, Tusa is a serial offender. Last year, its Area 51 service was shut down following a ceasefire issued by the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE). A pending settlement agreement included a clause that Tusa could not launch or be involved in similar services.
After Area 51 apparently disappeared but before the settlement was finalized, it is alleged that Tusa launched a copy near Area 51 called SingularityMedia, which picked up clients from Area 51. In response, ACE contacted again. Tusa and demanded the closure of the new service. He then disappeared.
In October 2020, a confidential settlement was reached which included a clause prohibiting Tusa from creating or being involved in other similar services. However, it is claimed that the defendant subsequently launched Digital UniCorn Media and another service called Altered Carbon. It seems that at this point ACE lost patience and responded with the ongoing lawsuit.
The lawsuit demands millions in damages and injunctions
Listing approximately 110 copyrighted works, the Hollywood Studios Coalition, with the addition of Amazon and Netflix, alleges direct and willful copyright infringement, contributory copyright infringement, and incitement to copyright infringement. They also allege breach of contract with respect to the settlement agreement while demanding an injunction to prevent Tusa from moving forward.
On July 8, the plaintiffs submitted a draft preliminary injunction to the court, a copy of which was personally served on Tusa two days later. He was required to respond to this request by July 19, but he neither responded nor requested an extension.
âThe plaintiffs do not know of a legitimate reason why Tusa would be unable to fulfill his obligations to this Court. Tusa was personally served with the request. He knows the plaintiffs and their lawyers from their history of negotiating a settlement, âthe plaintiffs wrote in a July 26 notice to the court.
Judge acknowledges Tusa’s lack of response
In minutes dated July 28, U.S. District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips refers to the plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction, noting that Tusa had not objected to the motion. within the official deadline.
On August 18, the judge dealt with the case on the basis of the documents timely filed by the plaintiffs, granting the requested preliminary injunction. This means that in the future, Tusa and other business entities will be required to comply with a suitable set of instructions to prevent further infringements.
The judge issues a preliminary injunction
Noting that a preliminary injunction is an âextraordinary and drastic remedy,â the court concluded that the movie studios have shown a likelihood of success in their action against Tusa, including their claims of direct copyright infringement. The plaintiffs also showed a need for emergency relief, with the court finding that Tusa’s streaming platforms create financial losses for the plaintiffs and undermine their legitimate licenses.
âAs the plaintiffs point out, the activities of the defendant also expand the market for counterfeit services, causing further harm to the plaintiffs. This could lead to unquantifiable confusion among customers and an overall decrease in the value of copyrighted works. The plaintiffs have thus demonstrated a probability of irreparable harm, âwrites the judge.
Finally, since Tusa did not respond to the lawsuit, the judge further concluded that an injunction against Altered Carbon would be in the public interest.
“For the foregoing reasons, the Court finds that the plaintiffs have discharged their heavy burden of establishing that they are entitled to the extraordinary remedy of a preliminary injunction.”
Conditions of the injunction
The injunction prohibits and directs Tusa (and all persons acting in concert with him) to directly or secondarily infringe any of the studio’s copyrighted works by any means, including public performance, reproduction and / or material contribution or incitement to violation.
Further, the court ordered action against several of Tusa’s domains requiring Internet Domain Service BS Corp., Hostinger International and Hosting Concepts BV (as well as all others who receive notice of injunction) to prevent the one of them is modified, sold, transferred to another owner or deleted.
The areas are: alteredcarbon.online, 2pmtoforever.com, catchbutterflies.host, Stealingkisses.me, dum.world and twoavocados.us
All WHOIS and similar contact information at the time of receipt of the order should remain unchanged and all domain names should remain with their current registrar. Changes to domain registration records should be prevented and all should be disabled to prevent public access. All evidence that could allow complainants to identify individuals using the domains should be retained.
Since Tusa failed to defend the lawsuit, the court clerk also filed a default against him. This means that an expensive default judgment is now likely but the extent of the damage remains to be determined.
The injunction and associated documents can be found here 1,2,3, (pdf)