Set TV, a subscription IPTV service in the US, has found itself at the center of a lawsuit, accused of mass copyright infringement.
The lawsuit comes from a group called ACE (the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment) that includes some of the biggest studios in Hollywood. The likes of Disney, 20th Century Fox, Columbia Pictures, Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures and Warner Bros are all mentioned, as well as Netflix and Amazon.
The lawsuit alleges that Set TV “relies on third-party sources that illicitly reproduce copyrighted works and then provide streams of popular content such as movies still exclusively in theaters and television shows”.
Cutting the cord
This type of lawsuit isn’t uncommon, given that movie and TV studios are extremely protective of their IP, but having so many big names team up against a single potential copyright infringer, especially one that touts itself as a paid service, is noteworthy.
One of the reasons why those companies are taking Set TV so seriously may be how professional the service looks, with the lawsuit explaining that on the surface it does look legitimate.
“For the customers who use Setvnow, the service provides hallmarks of using authorized streaming services – a user-friendly interface and reliable access to popular content – but with a notable exception: the customers only pay money to Defendants, not to Plaintiffs and other content creators upon whose copyrighted works Defendants’ business depends,” the suit reads.
If the lawsuit is successful, the service would be shut down and there could be substantial fines, too – $150,000 for each piece of content on the site that infringes copyright. With Set TV offering 500+ channels, those costs could well spiral.
Getting 500+ channels for just $20 a month does seem like a bargain. Currently, the cheapest Sling TV Package offers 30+ channels for $20. YouTube TV lets you view 50+ YouTube TV channels for $49, while Hulu and DirecTV also have competitive pricing for 50-60 channels.
A spokesperson for ACE contacted TechRadar to say this about the case: “‘Setvnow’ and other piracy software applications undermine the legal market for films and television shows, causing harm to a vibrant creative economy that supports millions of workers around the world.
"ACE is dedicated to protecting creators and reducing online piracy through dedicated actions against illegal enterprises like ‘Setvnow.’”
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Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, Shortlist.com at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.