Kodi and content owners around the world recently went on the attack against third-party add-ons for Kodi that promote piracy and, more important, the people who sell streaming players loaded with apps that allow you to stream content for free.
Recently in the United Kingdom police have started arresting pub owners who use these players in their pubs. Now Canada has banned their sale pending a full trial.
The ban focuses on the sale of pirate boxes loaded with apps, such as Showbox, and players who promote third-party Kodi add-ons for the free streaming of copyrighted movies and TV.
This case comes from Canadian broadcasters who claim that boxes sold by ITVBOX.NET, My Electronics, Android Bros Inc., WatchNSaveNow Inc, and MTLFreeTV all come configured with software designed to receive their copyrighted content.
Back in April 2015 Canadian broadcasters purchased boxes from the listed defendants to test them. They not only found that the devices provided access to their content for free, but they also discovered that the defendants advertised their products as a way to avoid paying for cable bills.
As a result of this testing, Canadian broadcasters filed a claim under both the Copyright Act and Radio Communications Act in Canada for illegally decrypted programing.
At the first hearing the plaintiffs showed up in force with lawyers but court documents revealed that only one defendant attended the hearing. Vincent Wesley of MTLFreeTV told the court that he had nothing to do with the development or maintenance of the installed software. The set-top boxes, he argued, are just pieces of hardware, such as a tablet or computer, and have substantial non-infringing uses.
The court seemed less than convinced by his claim stating, The devices marketed, sold and programmed by the Defendants enable consumers to obtain unauthorized access to content for which the Plaintiffs own the copyright. This is not a case where the Defendants merely serve as the conduit, as was argued by Mr. Wesley, Judge Daniele Tremblay-Lamer wrote in her order.
Rather, they deliberately encourage consumers and potential clients to circumvent authorized ways of accessing contentsay, by a cable subscription or by streaming content from the Plaintiffs websitesboth in the manner in which they promote their business, and by offering tutorials in how to add and use applications which rely on illegally obtained content.
As is often the case, the defendants marketing strategies appear set to haunt them. All imply infringing uses with descriptions such as Original Cable Killer, Cancel cable today, Every Movie Ever Made, Every TV Show Ever Made, and Live Sports and Events.
This is not the first time a new technology has been alleged to violate copyright law, nor will it be the last. There are questions for the Court to resolve at trial rather than at this interlocutory stage, the judge wrote.
The court case is far from over but for now sales in Canada of pirate boxes are banned.
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