In an unfortunate turn of events, ZemTV developer Shani has thrown in the towel and withdrawn from defense in the lawsuit against Dish Network in Texas. He had initially hoped that the case would be thrown out based on a motion to dismiss on jurisdictional grounds, but that motion ended up being denied. Despite having never so much as stepped foot in the United States, the courts expected him to somehow pay a lawyer in order to defend himself over Pakistani content he had removed from his addon as soon as he received a takedown notice.
Neither Shani, nor the ZemTV addon, ever made a penny. The addon was something he developed in his free time, and was entirely free of charge. As far as we know, all of the channels accessed by the addon are actually available to be streamed for free (legally) directly from each station’s official web site in Pakistan. All he did was write code that could be used to scrape external sources from tthe internet, sources which he had no control over, nor connection to. How could he pay for his defense against a corporation that’s worth $15 billion in a country to which he has no connection?
The worst part of the matter is that within a day of Shani’s lawyer withdrawing from the defense, Dish Network requested that the court issue a default judgement against him. Default judgements are usually issued when a defendent does not appear to defend himself. The whole situation was designed in order to make it near impossible for him to participate in the first place. The idea that a normal person could afford to defend themselves half way around the world is outrageous to begin with. We pray that by some miracle things turn out alright for him and his family.
We hate to say it, but our community is not much better off in terms of financial resources. We are relying on donations made by our users in order to mount our defense in two separate countries. In Canada, we already owe our lawyers over $100,000 and we are still nowhere near the trial. As for our defense against Dish Network, we recently filed an answer to their complaint with the court. Please consider donating towards our rebuilding efforts and legal defense, without everyone’s support it is very possible that we will eventually has to throw in the towel as well.