Omniverse provides packages of TV channels to various streaming providers, including SkyStream TV, Flixon TV, and HD Homerun. Jason DeMeo, the head of the company, asserted in an interview with Cord Cutters News that he had acquired a contract giving him legal authority to distribute the programming.
But, the studios allege that DeMeo has no such authority. The major studios — Disney, Fox, Paramount, Sony, Universal and Warner Bros. — filed suit in federal court in Los Angeles.
“Plaintiffs have not granted licenses that permit Defendant DeMeo or Omniverse to stream the Copyrighted Works or sublicense streams to whatever counterparty they wish,” the lawsuit states.
The suit grows out of a similar case against Dragon Box, the distributor of a TV device that provided access to pirated streams. While the litigation was pending, Dragon Box sought to move its customers to an alternate service, which it dubbed BlendTV and, later, My TV Hub. Both services were provided by Omniverse, according to the latest allegations.
The studios reached a settlement with Dragon Box, under which it agreed to a $14.5 million judgment, and shut down its TV offerings. The company now sells supplements containing CBD oil.
The studios previously joined with Netflix and Amazon to form the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, which has been leading the charge against Dragon Box and similar hardware providers. Netflix and Amazon did not join the Omniverse suit.
The suit describes Omniverse as a “hub” feeding content to numerous illicit streaming services. The suit also alleges that DeMeo previously sold a consumer-facing product, the OmniBox, which offered thousands of channels for $25 per month.
DeMeo could not be reached for comment.
Several services now describe themselves as “powered by Omniverse.” SkyStream TV offers 70 channels for $35 per month, as well as higher-end tiers that offer premium channels like HBO and Showtime. HD Homerun offers 45 channels for $35 per month.
“All of these services provide end users with streams of the Copyrighted Works for subscription fees. And all of these services do so ‘in cooperation with’ Omniverse and without a license from Plaintiffs,” the suit alleges.
Update, 3 p.m. Feb. 19: Omniverse responds, saying it plans to work with the studios to fight piracy:
“While Omniverse disagrees with the substance and the specifics of the allegations made against the company in a recent California court filing, we are highly supportive of the mission that the plaintiffs and their partners in the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) are carrying out. Omniverse believes there is no place in the industry for media pirates and, consistent with the plaintiffs, believes their legitimate business has been harmed by the unlicensed distribution of media content.
“Consistent with our shared goals for the industry, Omniverse intends to engage quickly and constructively with the plaintiffs and their legal counsel to resolve their concerns with Omniverse’s business and where possible support them in their greater goal of eliminating piracy from our industry. It is our belief that when this process is complete, that both sides will be satisfied with the outcome.”