ABS-CBN Corp. sued a US-based individual and tech company for allegedly pirating the media giant’s content and infringing on its trademark.
In a statement on Thursday, the Lopez-led company said it filed a complaint at a US federal court in the southern district of Texas against a certain Anthony Brown and 1700 Cuts Technology.
ABS-CBN said it is seeking damages over $4 million for alleged content piracy and trademark infringement.
In the lawsuit, ABS-CBN alleged Mr. Brown, a resident of Texas, sold illegal set-top boxes through Facebook pages that he and 1700 Cuts Technology operated.
It noted that buyers of these pirated set-top boxes were able to watch ABS-CBN’s live programs without paying any fees.
One of the Facebook pages used to promote these illegal set-top boxes was a business page for “lifeforgreatness.” Based on its website, “lifeforgreatness” promotes products and services of 1700 Cuts Technology.
BusinessWorld e-mailed 1700 Cuts Technology for comment but did not receive a reply.
“Beware of these operations that are not licensed or affiliated in any way with ABS-CBN. We will continue to protect customers by shutting these operations down. The only genuine ABS-CBN internet subscription services are TFC on cable and satellite, IPTV and TFC.tv,” ABS-CBN Assistant Vice-President and Head of Global Anti-Piracy Elisha Lawrence was quoted as saying.
TFC.tv makes ABS-CBN shows and movies available for overseas markets such as the United States and Canada.
ABS-CBN has been going after companies and individuals selling set-top boxes that provide access to its copyrighted movies and TV shows.
An ABS-CBN official earlier estimated it lost around P300-400 million in potential movie revenues in 2018 due to piracy.
ABS-CBN Head of Infosec and Data Protection Officer Jay C. Gomez said in November that the company’s film revenues have continued to grow, racking up more than a billion pesos annually.
For the first nine months of 2019, ABS-CBN’s attributable net income rose 45% to P2.36 billion, on the back of an 8.6% rise in revenues to P32 billion.
The bulk of revenues came from advertising revenues, which went up 15% to P17.11 billion.
Shares in ABS-CBN increased by 0.24% to P16.40 each at the Philippine Stock Exchange on Thursday. — ALB