The vow from Triller Fight Club to serve as a disruptor in the boxing industry has now extended into online piracy.
Triller Inc. has launched a nine-figure lawsuit seeking damages from streaming websites FilmDaily.com, CrackStreamsLive.com and at least 10 specified outlets as well as 100 unnamed parties. The 20-page complaint—a copy of which was obtained by BoxingScene.com—was filed on Friday with the U.S. District Court in the Central District of California, alleging the illegal distribution of its April 17 Pay-Per-View event headlined by a cruiserweight bout between YouTube star Jake Paul and mixed martial artist Ben Askren.
The PPV show—which aired live from a crowdless Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia—was produced and distributed by Triller Fight Club at a suggested retail price of $49.99. Triller. Inc. has yet to publicly reveal the final PPV sales—which reportedly range from 1,300,000-1,500,000 units sold—though has gone on record to allege that even more viewers illegally streamed the event.
“Triller seeks in excess of $100,000,000.00 against Defendants and each of them all of whom are cyber-criminals, for their outright theft and diversion of upwards of 2,000,000 unique viewers by providing them with illegal and unauthorized viewings of the Broadcast of the Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren boxing event,” Farhad Novian of Novian & Novian, LLP, representing Triller, Inc. in the case. “[Triller] institutes this action to obtain remedy for—and to permanently hinder—the blatantly unlawful infringement and rampant theft of its copyrighted work by the Defendants. Defendants, and each of them, have utilized various torrent and streaming websites such as https://youtube.com, https://filmdaily.co, https://accesstvpro.co, https://online2livestream.us, https://crackstreamslive.com, https://sports-today.club/, https://my-sports.club/, and https://bilasports.com to unlawfully upload, distribute, and publicly display, without authorization, the Broadcast to the users of such websites.
“Upon information and belief, Defendants, and each of them, acted knowingly, willfully, unlawfully and with blatant disregard to Plaintiff’s copyright in the Broadcast by uploading the Broadcast to the aforementioned websites with additional shareable payment links, such as PayPal links, which allow users to remit direct payments to the various Defendants in order to fund and endorse each respective Defendants’ infringement of [Triller’s] Broadcast.”
The list of complaints specified by Triller in the lawsuit are: copyright infringement; violation of Federal Communications Acts 47 U.S.C. § 605 & 47 U.S.C. § 553; conversion, breach of contract; conspiracy; violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act 18 U.S.C. § 1039; and vicarious copyright infringement.
“Through their egregious conduct, Defendants also encourage other online users to copy, share, download, distribute and share the Broadcast on the aforementioned websites,” notes Novian. “Defendants further unlawfully facilitate, participate, and induce other users to engage in the unauthorized reproduction, adaptation, distribution and public display of Triller’s copyrighted Broadcast all to line their own pockets with monies that belong to Triller.”
FilmDaily.com and CrackStreamsLive.com are joined by AccessTVPro.co, Online2LiveStream.us, Sports-Today.club, My-Sports.club, BilaSport.com, Trendy Clips, Eclipt Gaming and random entities ‘Mike,’ ‘Your Extra’ and ‘ItsLilBrandon’ along with 100 unknown entities in the complaint. The total value of the lawsuit—if all charges are carried to the fullest—are estimated at $1,500,000,000 according to court records.
Triller seeks pre-judgment and post-judgment interest on all awarded damages as well as all attorneys’ fees and costs accrued and any further relief as deemed just by the court.
“It's shocking to think a theft so grand can be done so blatantly and brazenly and with no remorse," Ryan Kavanaugh, co-controlling shareholder of Triller told BoxingScene.com in a shared statement. "There is zero difference between what they did and walking into a market stealing tons of a product and selling it at a discount in the parking lot. It’s neither civilly nor criminally any different, and we are prosecuting to the fullest extent of the law. There were more than two million illegal streams, akin to hundreds of millions of dollars."
Interestingly, Triller, Inc. is also a defendant in a separate ongoing lawsuit filed in the same court last November by Wixen Music Publishing, Inc., alleging direct and contributory copyright infringement of its music illegally used on Triller’s app. Wixen claims the rights to more than 1,000 songs to have been used in videos created on the app “from Triller’s music library that have not been licensed and for which copyright owners are not compensated.”
Wixen seeks the maximum amount of statutory damages for willful copyright infringement, $150,000 per video.
Triller entered the boxing market last fall, with the Nov. 28 exhibition match between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. headlining a PPV event which reportedly sold 1,600,000 units. Soon thereafter came the formation of Triller Fight Club, which presented Paul-Askren and is currently has two more PPV events on the schedule: a June 5 show at loanDepot Part in Miami, headlined by lineal/WBA/IBF/WBO lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez in a mandatory title defense versus George Kambosos Jr.; and a July 3 event topped by Hall of Fame former six-division champion Oscar De La Hoya versus a yet-to-be-named opponent in an exhibition bout.
Much as Triller Fight Club is seeking to shake up the currently industry business model, the same approach will be taken against any form of product piracy moving forward.
"Sites (such as those named) are causing significant damage not just to Triller Fight Club but content creators overall," insists Kavanaugh. "People put a lot of hard work, time and money into creating a product for the consumer, and having it stolen and resold is terribly damaging.
"The good news is they are not protected by VPN masking or other firewalls as their activities are criminal and grand theft, so we will ultimately find them and prevail not just for us but for content creators in general.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox