By James A. Loyola
Multi-media giant ABS-CBN Corporation has filed two civil complaints in U.S. Federal Courts against two individuals in a piracy network spanning across US state lines.
In a statement, the broadcast firm said it is seeking damages “in the millions” from the two individuals for allegedly pirating ABS-CBN’s copyrighted content via illegal IPTV boxes. According to Broadband TV News, TV piracy has become big business since the advent of illegal streaming IPTV platforms, which make it easy to distribute, market and sell illegal subscriptions to thousands of channels.
One lawsuit was filed in the Federal Court, Southern District of Texas against Alberto Ace Mayol Alfaro.
The second lawsuit was filed in the Federal Court, Central District of California against Romula Araneta Castillo.
Castillo was arrested on February 7, 2020 by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) after an undercover sting operation for his alleged violations of California Penal Code 593(d). Undercover officers purchased five boxes from Castillo, and confirmed one was streaming illegal content live on the scene.
This arrest and accompanying civil lawsuits mark the first actions this year by ABS-CBN in a coming wave against the nationwide epidemic of IPTV box sellers.
ABS-CBN conducted a months-long investigation into the scheme perpetuated by Castillo and his cousin, Alfaro, including undercover purchases from the targets.
The lawsuits allege that Castillo and Alfaro engaged in this multi-state scheme to sell these pirated set top boxes to the unsuspecting public.
The lawsuits further allege that Castillo and Alfaro’s pirated set top boxes enabled buyers to access ABS-CBN’s live programming without paying the appropriate fees for such products, causing irreparable harm and damages to ABS-CBN.
“We are thankful for the cooperation of the LA Police Department in investigating and arresting Castillo, a kingpin in this pirate box scheme,” said ABS-CBN Global Anti-Piracy Head Elisha Lawrence.
She added that, “Defrauding the public by selling these fake boxes is a scam operation and preying on innocent people. We are very happy to have the cooperation of the police to enforce against these pirates.”(James A. Loyola)