Netflix, Amazon and Others Sue TickBox TV
Imagine a neighborhood where each house offered a single stolen product to anyone who knocked on their door. You can get a TV at one house or a power tool at another absolutely free. All you have to do is knock. You know the products are stolen and you’re breaking the law for receiving them, but you’re not too worried because the police don’t know exactly where these houses are.
The problem is neither do you. Now imagine someone has a map to them and offers to drive you to any of these houses you want. Is the driver breaking the law? Yes, according to a lawsuit filed recently by Amazon, Netflix and five major Hollywood studios against the manufacturer of a controversial media streaming device called TickBox TV.
What Is TickBox TV?
Similar to Roku or Apple TV, TickBox TV is a media streaming device that allows you to watch movies and videos from the Internet directly over your TV. The difference is TickBox has the ability to seek out pirated copies of current movies offered illegally on the web. Using a software addon called Covenant, TickBox will find virtually any current movie you want to see from sites that illegally stream pirated copies of them.
Think of it as the driver who takes you to the stolen property neighborhood. It’s not illegal for him to drive you there, but what is illegal is his enticement to take you knowing your only reason for going is to break the law. The relevant law in this case is known as intentionally inducing the infringement of copyright.
The Case Against TickBox TV
On October 13, Netflix Studios and Amazon Content Services filed a lawsuit in federal court, along with Universal, Columbia, Disney, Twentieth-Century Fox, Paramount and Warner Bros. against TickBox TV, alleging they induce customers to infringe on the copyright protection of the first-run movies they produce and distribute.
The lawsuit states TickBox TV enables home viewers to illegally view movies that are only legally available via subscription or in theaters. It describes how customers can input a movie title and the device will then display a list of locations on the internet where pirated copies are available for streaming. The customer chooses one and the film is instantly streamed to their TV.
How TickBox Works
TickBox TV uses an Android-based, open-source software program called Kodi to play media files, which in and of itself is not illegal. What makes Kodi different is its ability to easily accept addon programs that are potentially illegal. The addon TickBox TV uses to find unlicensed streams of copyrighted movies is called Covenant.
The Uncertain Future of TickBox TV
Dish Network recently sued two companies that provide Kodi addons: ZemTV and TVAddons.ag, for providing unlicensed access to TV channels. This crackdown on Kodi addon software has now extended to hardware.
The current lawsuit against TickBox TV is asking for $150,000 each time a film is illegally streamed. Considering the thousands of films illegally viewed by TickBox customers everyday, the future prospects for the device appear grim. The friendly driver who offers to take you to the stolen property neighborhood may soon have his car and map impounded.