LOS ANGELES, June 2, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Media Journal Inc., a leading Los Angeles-based retailer and distributor of the TVPad device to Korean Americans, today sued major Korean-language television networks, accusing them of waging a "campaign of terror" against the public by falsely claiming consumers are breaking the law by using TVPads and may face civil penalties or criminal charges.
The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, accuses the three networks -- KBS America Inc., Mun Hwa Broadcasting Corp. and Seoul Broadcasting System International Inc. -- of unfair competition and trade libel.
The suit says Media Journal has suffered significant business disruption and financial losses because of the networks' false claims. It seeks actual damages, plus punitive damages "sufficient to punish the defendants and deter similar future conduct."
"Technology is evolving at blistering speed," the suit says. Those who resist change "fear new technology because they cannot compete ... in today's reality" and "resort to dastardly tactics to force the innovators out of business. This conduct is not only shameful -- it is illegal."
The suit gives examples of "archaic" technologies, such as VCRs and home answering machines that hooked to "landline" telephones and saved messages on microcassette tapes.
TVPad is a set-top device that connects a TV to various apps selected by the user. It allows users to download TV programming by broadband connection, then play it back later. It also allows users to download and use apps, music and games and make international phone calls. It is widely used abroad, especially in Asian countries.
TV programming doesn't stream "live" on TVPads but is delayed for at least several seconds, the suit says. "In this regard, it is similar to a VCR or DVD," said attorney Francis Ryu, founder of Ryu Law Firm that represents Media Journal.
Under the "fair use" exception to the U.S. Copyright Act, "no consumer who records a free broadcast to be played back at his leisure in private can be held liable for copyright infringement," the suit says. "To state otherwise ... is nothing but a blatant attempt to scare the Korean American community into not using and/or purchasing TVPads."
The suit accuses KBS, MBC and SBS of engaging in "collusive" acts first by airing false claims about TVPad during purported "news broadcasts" and then by airing false "public service announcements" making similar untrue allegations before and after programs.
The suit also says the networks have been falsely claiming for weeks that TVPad has been sued. To date, it hasn't.
Another service, Aereo, Inc., which offers customers the ability to play "live stream" free TV programming, has been challenged in court by U.S.-language broadcasters, and Aereo has prevailed at every level, including in federal trial and appellate courts. That case is now before the U.S. Supreme Court on yet another appeal by U.S. broadcasters.
Roger Gillott Gillott Communications 323-497-7868 ~