The International Broadcaster Coalition Against Piracy (IBCAP) has announced that a federal court in California has granted summary judgement on all claims in an IBCAP coordinated lawsuit against interntaional provider of South Asian content, Jadoo TV, Inc. and its U.S.-based CEO, Sajid Sohail, finding them liable for direct, contributory and vicarious copyright infringement.
Chris Kuelling, executive director of IBCAP, said, “This ruling goes further than many other copyright cases coordinated by IBCAP. Here, the owner and CEO of one of the most popular South Asian services offering infringing content will not be permitted to hide behind a corporate shield and has been found personally liable for the damages caused by his and his company’s copyright infringement. IBCAP and its members will not tolerate piracy, and the U.S. courts have once again not only sided with us by handing down a judgement against an infringing service, but also holding an owner personally accountable.”
When the lawsuit was filed in 2018, Jadoo TV was one of the most popular providers of South Asian content in the U.S. and elsewhere, distributing its service through “Jadoo TV” set-top boxes and its mobile application. The Jadoo TV set-top boxes were widely available online and in retail stores throughout South Asian communities in the U.S., Canada and worldwide. The case was brought by IBCAP member DISH Network L.L.C. in 2018 after DISH and IBCAP sent numerous notices of copyright infringement. The lawsuit includes claims for direct, contributory and vicarious infringement against Jadoo TV for airing certain IBCAP member content to which it did not have rights.
The lawsuit also includes claims against Sajid Sohail individually, arguing that as the founder, CEO and majority shareholder of Jadoo TV, and as participant and supervisor of the infringing conduct, Sohail should be held personally liable for the infringement by Jadoo TV and its employees. The lawsuit seeks damages and injunctive relief against Jadoo TV and Mr. Sohail.
The United States District Court for the Northern District of California granted all claims asserted by DISH against Jadoo TV, Inc. and Sohail individually in a ruling issued on June 13, 2023, and denied Sohail’s motion as to all claims. The Court found that Jadoo TV directly infringed and violated exclusive rights and materially contributed to and induced infringement by:
- enhancing users’ access to the infringing content
- being responsible for uploading and initiating distribution of the content
- preloading its set-top boxes with infringing content
- preconfiguring its set-top boxes to locate and install infringing content
The Court further determined that because Sohail was the “guiding spirit” behind the infringement, had the “principal decision-making authority as to responding to infringement notices,” was the founder, CEO, director and majority shareholder, and had the ability to unilaterally change company policy, he is personally liable for the infringement. The Court noted that instead of implementing simple measures to prevent infringement, Sohail was the “active and conscious force behind the infringing products.” The Court ordered additional briefing related to damages to be submitted within 45 days.