A new complaint filed with the U.S. District Court in Central California has pitted at least eight major media companies against SET TV, alleging that the service is a breeding ground for piracy. Piracy cases and reports have become fairly commonplace over recent months but this case may be among the biggest yet. That's because, among the plaintiffs in the case, this one has been brought by Amazon, Netflix, Disney, 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Universal, and Warner Bros. Those companies have accused SET TV of knowingly and deliberately distributing pirated material alongside the legitimate content on offer. For those who may not be aware, SET TV is a cord-cutting service that streams media from over 500 live channels and other content.
The most prominent point of contention in the case, however, seems to be that the service is a blend of legitimate media and content for which licensed use hasn't been properly paid for. That creates a usability and "reliability" that gives an impression of legitimacy. In the shortest terms possible, it blurs the lines between piracy and legitimate streaming, making it difficult for viewers to know which is which. More directly, the suit claims that the service streams selected content from third-party sources that are illegitimately capturing and streaming live transmissions. For on-demand content, the companies claim, SET TV relies on third-parties that are illegally "reproducing copyrighted works" including movies that are still exclusively in theaters. In response, the companies are seeking $150,000 "per work infringed," in any case where the company knowingly or willfully materially contributed to the piracy of the media in question.
Whether or not this case moves forward and ultimately sides with the plaintiffs, each of the companies involved in the case is in direct competition with one another. That could be seen as a substantial bolster to the allegations but the ruling in this will most likely come down to whether or not there is any pirated content being offered by SET TV. That does not mean that the companies will receive the compensation they are asking for but piracy rulings can be much harsher than monetary fines or restitution. In the meantime, the streaming service provider has not, as of this writing, responded to the allegations.