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DISH Network and Sling TV focus on alleged operators of SportsBay.org, SportsBay.tv, Live-NBA.stream and Freefeds.com. In an amended lawsuit filed this week, the companies now name two defendants who were unmasked after Google, Cloudflare, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, domain companies and others complied with subpoenas.
An interesting lawsuit filed in a Texas court last summer saw DISH Network and Sling TV team up to sue the people behind SportsBay.org, SportsBay.tv, Live-NBA.stream and Freefeds.com.
Unlike lawsuits against regular pirate IPTV providers, the platforms allegedly circumvented the DRM technologies deployed by the Sling TV streaming system (Widevine, Fairplay and PlayReady) in order to provide their users with Sling programming for free, directly to from Sling’s servers.
DISH has provided extensive details about how the operation operated while alleging willful violations of the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions and seeking vast sums in damages.
At some point in September 2021, all of the sites went offline and still haven’t resurfaced, leaving millions of users dry. The reasons for the disappearances were not confirmed, but DISH had obtained permission to subpoena a number of major service providers to further its case.
Subpoenas target major online service providers
The targets of the subpoenas included domain registrar Namecheap (plus domain protection service WhoisGuard), Tucows, Cloudflare, Digital Ocean, Google, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Namecheap was asked to submit information related to Namecheap or WhoisGuard accounts associated with sportsbay.org, live-nba.stream, freefeds.com and IP address 126.96.36.199, from May 2018 to August 3, 2020.
This included sufficient documentation to identify the full name and contact information (including postal addresses, web addresses, email addresses, and telephone numbers) of the person who registered each account, as well as the documents submitted to create or make changes to each account. The subpoena also requested the production of detailed information about the payment.
A similar subpoena requesting almost the same information was filed with domain company Tucows and another with Cloudflare, the latter also containing a request to identify the names of the hosting companies connected to the four domains.
Highlighting a specific server IP address (188.8.131.52), a subpoena sent to Digital Ocean requested the surrender of the user’s contact, payment and IP address information, as well as all communications sent or received to accounts.
Google received a request to transfer information related to a specific Google Analytics account, including names, addresses, and contacts, as well as all IP address logs and communications sent or received from associated accounts. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have been ordered to hand over any identifying information they hold on the sites’ social media accounts and it appears other providers have also been ordered to hand over information.
Subpoenas allow plaintiffs to name defendants
With DISH and Sling seemingly leaving nothing to chance, it seemed almost inevitable that one or more of the subpoenas would lead to the identity of one or more of the previously unnamed defendants. This now appears to be the case.
In an amended first complaint filed this week, plaintiffs identify two men – Juan Barcan and Juan Nahuel Pereyra, both residents of Argentina.
“Defendant Juan Barcan is a resident of Buenos Aires, Argentina who owned and operated the Live-nba.stream, Freefeds.com, Sportsbay.org and Sportsbay.tv domains and websites,” the complaint states.
“Barcan used his PayPal account to make payments to the domain registrar Namecheap and GitHub for the Sportsbay websites. Barcan operated the Sportsbay websites with CloudFlare, GitHub and Google accounts.
“Defendant Juan Nahuel Pereyra is a person residing in Buenos Aires, Argentina, who owned and operated the Live-nba.stream, Freefeds.com, Sportsbay.org and Sportsbay.tv domains and websites,” he continued.
“Pereyra used his PayPal account to make payments to domain registrar Namecheap for Sportsbay websites. Pereyra operated Sportsbay websites with CloudFlare and Google accounts.
The amended complaint further notes that all of the “SportsBay websites” had similarities between their domain registrars and service providers, and each deployed Cloudflare as a reverse proxy, pass-through security service. According to the complainants, all four domains used the same Google Analytics ID (UA-187547947) which is also referenced on a number of other outdated streaming portals not mentioned in the complaint.
Finally, after reiterating their claims for damages, DISH and Sling also seek a permanent injunction to restrain the defendants from infringing their rights in the future, including by circumventing DRM or any other technological protection measure that controls the access to Sling programming.
The Amended Complaint can be found here (pdf)