The battle against piracy is never ending, but these days rights holder are opting the more sensible approach of tackling the problem at its source - rather than going after the people doing the pirating. One big part of this has been dealing with people trying to profit from hardware and software designed to access premium content without paying. Dragon Media Inc is the latest one, and they're facing a lawsuit from big names in Hollywood.
Dragon Media Inc is the maker of the Dragon Box, an Android-powered set-top box running Kodi that uses dodgy third party add-ons for piracy-related reasons. Or at least that's what being claimed in a lawsuit from Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), an anti-piracy group that represents the likes of Amazon, Netflix, Sky, BBC Worldwide, HBO, and more.
The suit (first noticed by The Hollywood Reporter) was filed in a California federal court, and lists the company’s owner Paul Christoforo and reseller Jeff Williams among the defendants. it alleges that “defendants market and sell ‘Dragon Box,’ a computer hardware device that Defendants urge their customers to use as a tool for the mass infringement of the copyrighted motion pictures and television shows.”
Taking a look at the Dragon Box website, and it's not hard to see why they might think that. The site promises "No monthly bills, no entertainment costs" and that the box "opens up a whole new world of possibilities, where free movies and TV channels online are endless." A video advert also claims that it offers access to hundreds of movies and TV shows for free, without any need for a contract or subscription.
Those claims could mean legal services, sure, but if I were rights holder I'd definitely assume the worst.
The description for the box itself also claims that its not responsible for anyone who does pirate, and that the software it runs (Kodi) is all legal. That disclaimer has been used by many a similar company in the past, but it's not stopped rights holders from going after them.
The lawsuit also claims that Dragon Media provides instructions for users trying to access content without paying, and makes not of adverts that promise people can "stop paying for Netflix and Hulu".
“The Dragon Media application provides Defendants’ customers with a customized configuration of the Kodi media player and a curated selection of the most popular addons for accessing infringing content
These addons are designed and maintained for the overarching purpose of scouring the Internet for illegal sources of copyrighted content and returning links to that content. When Dragon Box customers click those links, those customers receive unauthorized streams of popular motion pictures and television shows.”
These sorts of cases aren't going to be going anywhere anytime soon, as rights holders do everything they can to make sure people have to pay for their content. Expect to hear more about this case, and other like it, a lot more in the near future. You can read the full lawsuit here. [THR via TorrentFreak]