Tickbox TV is a Georgia-based manufacturer that sells ‘Kodi’ streaming software that allows the purchaser to watch a variety of popular programs directly on TV. The box costs approximately $150, and the company’s initial advertising stated that you can have “virtually the channels you get from your local cable company … without you having to worry about paying rental fees or monthly subscriptions.”
Last year, Amazon, Netflix and other major Hollywood studios filed a lawsuit against Tickbox over piracy. The lawsuit accused Tickbox of inducing and contributing to copyright infringement.
“TickBox sells ‘TickBox TV,’ a computer hardware device that TickBox urges its customers to use as a tool for the mass infringement of Plaintiffs’ copyrighted motion pictures and television shows,” the lawsuit complaint stated.
The device itself is simply a media payer, but it comes with instructions on how to download various add-ons. The add-ons can be a piracy threat since the instructions guide people to the infringing streams.
“TickBox promotes the use of TickBox TV for overwhelmingly, if not exclusively, infringing purposes, and that is how its customers use TickBox TV. TickBox advertises TickBox TV as a substitute for authorized and legitimate distribution channels such as cable television or video-on-demand services like Amazon Prime and Netflix,” the lawsuit complaint reads.
Last month a California federal court ordered Tickbox to keep the add-ons out of the box and to no longer advertise the infringing streams. Aside from this, Tickbox must release new software that will remove any infringement on previously sold boxes.
Zoe Thorogood, a spokesperson for ACE (Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment), which is an anti-piracy initiative, says “This ruling sets an important precedent and reduces the threat from piracy devices to the legal market for creative content and a vibrant creative economy that supports millions of workers around the world.”
Furthermore, Tickbox has agreed to a $25 million judgment to settle a copyright infringement case.
“The film and television industry supports 2.1 million U.S. jobs, and our highest priority is protecting this creative economy from illegal online theft,” MPAA (whose members are part of ACE) Chairman and CEO Charles Rivkin said in a statement. “We applaud the stipulated permanent injunction against TickBox, which is an important milestone for the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment and the global effort to reduce online piracy. This action bolsters the legal digital marketplace, champions creators, and benefits audiences everywhere.”
This case is not yet over. And, Tickbox will still have to answer to the question of whether they contributed to the alleged copyright infringements.
Until next time, I’m attorney Francine Ward sharing useful legal information. Join my conversation on Facebook, Twitter, or in one of my LinkedIn groups, Google+ Circles.