Back in 2014, Echostar’s Sling Media began injecting ads into both the Slingbox client interface and into the video stream itself. As you might imagine, many of us were displeased. Also, as you might imagine, some decided to take this to court as a class-action lawsuit. Unfortunately for the plaintiffs, their legal team doesn’t appear to be well-versed in Slingbox technology (which has not been available for “decades”). Nor do they appear to be very thorough. Although I give them credit for coming strong by proposing an outrageous $5,000,000 in damages.
Some highlights from the National Law Review:
there was no allegation that Sling Media actually stated the slinging functions would be “ad free.” Likewise, the court observed that the lead plaintiffs failed to allege whether they bought their devices after Sling Media allegedly formed its intent to insert ads and before Sling Media launched the new feature (thereby disclosing the intent).
The court also found that the consumers failed to allege “injury.” The plaintiffs implied that Sling Media’s “use” of the plaintiffs’ property was itself an injury (like a private version of a “takings” claim).
The impact of the Sling Media decision is tempered by the fact that it was a decision on a motion to dismiss (and allowed plaintiffs to move for leave to amend).