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ABS-CBN awarded $21 Million in lawsuit against 21 Pirate Website Operators

Filipino media giant illustrates how pirate domains can be taken down via US Courts

The Court in the Southern District of Florida entered a default judgment in favor of leading Filipino media and entertainment company, ABS-CBN, and against 21 pirate site operators. The Order includes an award of damages in excess of $1 million against each of the 21 pirate website operators. The websites associated with these illegal operations are streaming portals offering free access to ABS-CBN content in the U.S. and abroad.

Due to the defendants’ failure to appear in court or participate in the lawsuit, the court approved ABS-CBN’s request for $1 million in trademark damages against each of the site operators. Below are the defendants by number and subject domain name:

The Court in the Southern District of Florida entered a default judgment in favor of ABS-CBN, and against 21 pirate site operators.png

Additionally, six of the defendants were ordered to pay between $30,000 to $90,000 in damages for copyright infringement. Further, was ordered to pay another $10,000 in cybersquatting damages for its domain name, which is confusingly similar to one of ABS-CBN’s registered trademarks.

Despite the challenge of not knowing the identities of the pirate domain operators, the default judgment takes direct aim at their wallets. The order includes a provision that requires advertising service providers to turn over any restrained revenue generated by the pirate websites. These funds were previously restrained in a temporary restraining order against the defendants.

Moreover, these pirate sites have been ordered to hand over their domain names to ABS-CBN so that they may no longer be used as a source for their infringing activities. 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.

At this time, ABS-CBN has succeeded in removing 18 of the domains at issue.

“There is a way to stop pirates and the U.S. court system is making it possible,” said ABS-CBN Global Anti-Piracy and Content Security Head Elisha Lawrence. “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.”

Source: Final Default Judgment, ABS-CBN Corporation, et al. v., Southern District of Florida, Case No. 21-60663-CIV-COHN/Strauss.

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