Kodi Box users need to keep a close eye on an online piracy court case
Kodi add-on fans will need to keep a close eye on a court case that could change the face of online streaming forever.
The Kodi surge continues without any sign of stopping, as users continue to ditch paid TV services for the online player.
Research has suggested Kodi – which offers access to thousands of channels – is being used in more than five million UK homes.
Kodi software is not illegal, but developers can produce third-party add-ons that provide free access to pirated and illegal content.
These apps allow users to stream premium content, like paid-for sports and movie channels for free.
The illegal add-ons are being targeted by ISPs, government agencies, broadcasters and rights holders.
And now one Kodi Box distributor has become the target of a court case set in motion by major Hollywood players.
TickBox TV is a popular streaming set-top box, powered by the Kodi media player.
But according to Hollywood studios, the Georgia-based company includes instructions for a number of Kodi add-ons that enable users to stream paid-for content for free.
Much of this paid-for content is generated by the likes of Disney, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros, Amazon, Netflix – which are all part of the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment.
The ACE last year filed a lawsuit against TickBox, and a ruling in the case is due soon.
The ACE believes these set-top boxes are nothing more than piracy tools, allowing buyers to stream copyright-infringing content.
They have asked a Californian court for a permanent injunction remove all infringing add-ons from previously sold devices.
TickBox have maintained their innocence, saying the device is a simple computer like any other which is perfectly legal, TorrentFreak reported.
TickBox have said they don’t have anything to do with the ‘Themes’ that users can select on their device.
These themes feature several add-ons that link to infringing content.
But last week Hollywood studios submitted a reply to the court, claiming TickBox have deliberately downplayed their role.
The ACE claimed TickBox are the ones who decided to make the themes accessible through the set-top boxes.
The ACE said: “TickBox falsely claims that the presence of these ‘Themes’ on TickBox devices ‘have nothing to do with Defendant’.
“To the contrary, TickBox intentionally chooses which ‘Themes’ to include on its ‘Select your Theme’ menu for the TickBox TV interface, and TickBox pushes out automatic software updates to its customers’ TickBox TV devices.”
The ACE also disputes TickBox’s claim that the product is “simply a small computer” citing how they believe the device is marketed.
They added: “TickBox’s liability arises based on its advertising and promoting TickBox TV as a tool for infringing use, and from designing and including software on the device that encourages access to infringing streams from third-party sources.”
Kodi-powered set top box TickBox is the subject of a Hollywood court case
Having heard from both sides, the Californian federal court now has to decide who is right, with the case poised to set an important online piracy precedent.
The ACE has also filed a similar lawsuit against Dragon Box, a set-top box that makes use of Kodi add-ons.
The complaint alleges Dragon Box advertised the product as a way for users to avoid paying for authorised subscription services.
It quotes marketing material that encourages users to “Get rid of your premium channels … [and] Stop paying for Netflix and Hulu.”
The set top box costs around £255 and is in over a quarter million homes in the US.
The news comes after calls emerged for online piracy to get legalised.
Peter Sunde is one of the founders of The Pirate Bay and was a spokesperson for the torrent portal for six years.
In a new interview, Sunde said he believes people should be able to share anything without restrictions.
And he’s calling for what currently constitutes online piracy to be redefined and made legal.
Sunde said: “The solution to piracy is to re-define piracy. Make things available to everyone, without that being a crime.”
Sunde also revealed that he believes there will be less online piracy in the future, with net neutrality playing a big part in that decrease in activity.
He said: “I think we’ll have less piracy because of the problems we see today.
“With net neutrality being infringed upon and more laws against individual liberties and access to culture, instead of actually benefiting people.“