Streaming is the new hip and happening thing in the world of piracy, particularly where Kodi is concerned. That's come with a problem on how to take it. Taking down individual streams is a pretty futile effort, and going after the people selling 'fully-loaded' hardware takes time.
So the rights holders are now going after the aggregaters who facilitate it. Even if they're not actually hosting the content themselves.
One such service is Moviestreamer in the Netherlands, which offered user a piece of software called Easy Use Interface 2.0. For the price of €79 (holy crap), users could purchase the add-on which let them search for pirate streams they could watch. For an additional €20 a month users could also get 'VIP' access to thousands of premium streams. It was designed to make the whole thing so easy that even a toddler could do it, which the company proudly bragged about in its marketing material.
Naturally it caught the attention of Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN, which claims to have attempted to stop the Moviestreamer from selling an illegal product. When that failed it took the company to court, under claims that Moviestreamer had no right to provide access to the material and was thus in breach of copyright law.
Moviestreamer didn't see it that way, seeing itself as a middleman that pointed users in the direction of the content they demanded - in the form of shortened URLs. Because it wasn't actually hosting the content itself, and it was the users themselves who were activating the links, Moviestreamer said it was a few steps away from copyright infringement. Because of the disconnect there was no infringement, for profit or otherwise.
Naturally a judge didn't see it that way, ruling that because Moviestreamer was providing the unique links that let users access protected material it was in violation of the law. Specifically it was deemed 'communication with the public', a precedent set by earlier cases.
It's also similar to the charges filed against Kodi box sellers here in the UK.
The judge also noted that Moviestreamer was well aware that the linked content was illegal in nature, especially because BREIN had told them before taking them to court. The company has been ordered to cease activity immediately, and failure to do so will lead being fined €5,000 a day up to a maximum of €500,000. It also has to pay €17,527 in legal costs.
BREIN Director Tim Kuik said in a statement:
"Moviestreamer sold a link to illegal content. Then you are required to check if that content is legally on the internet. You can not claim that you have nothing to do with the content if you sell a link to that content."
Speaking to Dutch site Tweakers, MovieStreamer owner Bernhard Ohler said that he has complied with the court order, while also warning that this could happen to companies that offer similar services- particularly not that a precedent has been set.
So basically, people who facilitate piracy are going to end up in trouble. Claiming ignorance, or that it has nothing to do with you just isn't going to work. [TorrentFreak]