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Canada federal court restrains sale of ‘pirate’ boxes

Discussion in 'Android' started by hutch, Jun 11, 2016.

  1. hutch

    hutch Banned

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    [h=2]Canada federal court restrains sale of ‘pirate’ boxes[/h]
    The Federal Court in Canada has handed down a interlocutory injunction against distributors of Android-based set-top boxes configured for piracy. The devices, which are loaded with software including Kodi (with pirate addons) and Showbox, are now banned from sale pending a full trial.

    android-boxFor years Internet piracy was the preserve of desktop machines running various flavors of peer-to-peer file-sharing software. Now, with viable computing available in devices as small as a phone, piracy is a do-anywhere affair.

    As a result it’s now common for people to stream media to their living room and for that purpose there are few more convenient solutions than an Android device. Whether phone, tablet, HDMI stick or set-top box, the Android platform can bring all the latest movies, TV shows and live sports to any living room, for little to no outlay.

    This type of Internet piracy is thriving all around the world and has already resulted in arrests in the UK and civil actions elsewhere. The latest news comes out of Canada, where Bell Canada, Rogers Communications, Videotron and others are taking on several retailers of Android set-top boxes.

    The broadcasters’ claims are relatively straightforward. As station operators they own the Canadian rights to a variety of TV shows. The defendants (ITVBOX.NET, My Electronics, Android Bros Inc., WatchNSaveNow Inc and MTLFreeTV) all sell devices that come ready configured with software designed to receive copyrighted content over the Internet.

    The plaintiffs began their inquiries in April 2015 and in the year that followed purchased and tested the defendants’ products. They not only found that the devices provided access to their content for free, but also that the defendants advertised their products as a way to avoid paying cable bills.

    Unsurprisingly the devices contained at least three sets of software – Kodi (along with the necessary infringing addons), the Popcorn Time-like Showbox application, plus tools to receive pirate subscription channels for a monthly fee.

    As a result the TV companies went to court in an effort to obtain an interlocutory injunction to stop the devices being made available for sale. The plaintiffs made claims under both the Copyright Act and Radiocommunication Act, the latter due to the devices receiving “illegally decrypted programmingâ€.

    Describing pre-loaded set-top boxes as an “existential threat†to their businesses, the plaintiffs said that piracy and subsequent declining subscriptions are the main factors behind falling revenue. On this basis and as a deterrent to others supplying such devices, an injunction should be granted.

    While the plaintiffs showed up in force, court documents reveal 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 like a tablet or computer and have “substantial non-infringing uses.â€

    The court wasn’t convinced.

    “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 content — say, by a cable subscription or by streaming content from the Plaintiffs’ websites — both 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.â€

    As is often the case, the defendants’ marketing strategies appear set to haunt them. All imply infringing uses with descriptions such as “Original Cable Killerâ€, “Cancel cable todayâ€, “Every Movie Ever Madeâ€, “Every TV Show Ever Made†and “Live Sports and Eventsâ€.

    Granting the interlocutory injunction, the judge said that other companies selling similar devices can be joined as parties to the injunction, should the plaintiffs identify them as defendants.

    “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.

    “For the time being, I am satisfied that the Plaintiffs have established a strong prima facie case of copyright infringement and that an injunction would prevent irreparable harm without unduly inconveniencing the Defendants.â€

    A full trial will follow but from the evidence and defense presented thus far, it shouldn’t prove a difficult one for the broadcasters to win.​
     
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  2. sheetmetal

    sheetmetal New Member

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    If this happens will not the seller be able to sell just the box and let the purchaser put in whtever
     
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  3. hutch

    hutch Banned

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    c/p a SM elsewhere...

    I've been waiting for this as no current laws have addressed this issue but it looks like they have caught on quickly to it and what that means for the future of IPTV is uncurtain. Believe me they will push it through quickily as there monopoly will suffer losses due to this new technology...JMO. Really [email protected] tho...
     
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  4. nbs.

    nbs. Member

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    It's a temporary injunction forbidding the sale of these boxes
     
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  5. Deadwood

    Deadwood Member

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    It won't stop the sales, they will sell whatever they have in stock, relocate their business to an offshore post office box and use a big website to bring them in and redirect them to a post office box. This is what a lof of Canadian satellite companies do, I know, I went to a few addresses and found they were an address to a private post office that rents boxes out. Not a good place to go and not a good idea to do business with these type of people. Just ask the Better Business Bureay as they have no shortage of complaints regarding these business's.
     
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  6. nbs.

    nbs. Member

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    That would depend on any pressure that is put on the police by the providers Satellite boxes are not illegal to import or own.
    Also satellite boxes are not illegal
     
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  7. hutch

    hutch Banned

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    Cable Companies Launch Court Battle Against 'Free TV' Android Box Vendor

    The ads are enticing: The promise of "Free TV" and the chance to "Say goodbye to cable bills forever."
    So it's no surprise Canada's cable giants are targeting upstart dealers selling loaded Android TV boxes.
    The devices enable users to access pirated content with ease for a one-time fee.
    Bell Media, Rogers Communications and Quebec's Videotron have taken legal action in Federal Court against five
    Canadian vendors. The cable companies have already won a temporary injunction to stop the defendants from selling
    the boxes. A source close to the case says he already knows of a sixth company that has been added as a defendant.
    "I think they went after those five because they could get a quick injunction," he said. "Then they're going to widen it
    across the country to shut it down as best they can."
    How free TV works
    The boxes are similar to Apple TV, but they use the Android operating system. Vendors can load them with
    special software that provides easy access to pirated content online.Customers can attach the boxes to their TVs
    and stream a vast array of unauthorized movies, TV shows and even live broadcasts,
    sometimes eliminating the need for cable. "We even got rid of Netflix," loaded Android box customer Jenna Galloway
    told CBC News earlier this year. The Cole Harbour, N.S., resident said she uses the box to access all her
    favourite shows, including Call the Midwife and The Walking Dead. The loaded boxes can be purchased online
    from sites such as Amazon for a one-time fee ranging from $40 to $250. They're growing in popularity in Canada
    and across the globe, making them a target for cable companies. The defendants named in the Federal Court case
    are MtlFreeTV, iTVBox, Android Bros Sales, WatchNSaveNow and My Electronics.
    According to the injunction ruling, they promoted their boxes as a way to watch TV without paying for cable.
    Android Bros in London, Ont., for example, advertised that customers "can 'cancel cable today' and still
    watch all of their television programs for free."
    Causing 'irreparable harm'?
    Bell, Rogers and Videotron alleged "there is a serious issue to be tried" due to "copyright infringement
    by the defendants." They also allege the businesses are selling devices intended for illegal purposes.
    They argued the defendants should halt sales of the loaded boxes during the legal proceedings
    because continued sales would cause "irreparable harm" to their business. The cable companies claimed
    "piracy is one of the top causes for declining subscriptions for television services in Canada."
    Only one defendant, Quebec-based MTLFreeTV, appeared at the injunction hearing. Owner Vincent Wesley
    argued the loaded boxes are nothing more than "a piece of hardware" loaded with software that's freely
    available to the public. The judge didn't buy the argument, and agreed to a temporary injunction to halt sales.
    Judge Danièle Tremblay-Lamer of the Federal Court in Ottawa ruled the defendants "deliberately encourage consumers
    and potential clients to circumvent authorized ways of accessing content."
    The legal fight will go on
    Wesley's lawyer, Constantin Kyritsis, said his client will appeal the injunction. He said the Android boxes are
    like "iPads, Apple TVs or computers," which can be used for both legal and illegal purposes. Indeed, customers can
    also use the Android boxes to stream legal content such as Netflix shows with a paid subscription.
    "The vendor doesn't control or authorize what users do, or what software providers enable users to do, Kyritsis said.
    Defendant Android Bros Sales told CBC News it will abide by the ruling.
    Rogers, Bell and Videotron all welcomed the decision.
    "This is a case of obvious piracy and the court made the right decision," Rogers told CBC News in an email.
    Bell said TV providers "invest hundreds of millions of dollars each year" to offer television content to Canadians.
    "Enabling free and illegal access to copyrighted content with these boxes negatively impacts the entire Canadian
    content production industry," the company said in email.
    What happens now?
    Rogers, Bell and Videotron also argued that every loaded Android box dealer — even those not named in the case
    — should be banned from selling the device until the issue is resolved. The judge disagreed but ruled that
    more defendants could be added to the case.
    CBC News' source close to the matter said he believes the cable companies may not be interested in a trial
    and are instead trying to shut down the business by temporarily halting loaded box sales.
    "They're trying to eliminate the market by getting these injunctions."
    He said it would be hard for the plaintiffs to quantify the damages in a trial.
    "They don't even know if they could get damages."
    In court documents, the judge said it's unlikely any of the small companies named as defendants would have
    the financial resources to compensate the plaintiffs for any lost revenue.
     
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  8. jayzee12

    jayzee12 New Member

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    but yet these same companies are allowed to screw ppl out of their money with inflated prices and bull**** packages to pick from channel wise
     
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  9. Deadwood

    Deadwood Member

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    The CRTC has no controls over pricing or prices charged for whatever these companies want to sell. They. ( CRTC ) only provides licensing, frequency controls and regulates how companies use and provide services to consumers and 3rd party internet providers. This includes the internet, satellite, radio and television frequencies, bandwidths, etcetera. As for the companies, the CRTC is, in part, to blame for whatever comes down the pike. The CRTC publicly proclaimed there would be an end to packaged and tiered programming. That was not entirely true.
    They retained the "basic package" and nobody can buy any other programming without paying for the basic package. Imagine if you bought a new car and you had to buy a basic service package from the dealers ? Canada has a lot of corporate decisions supported by the CRTC and it comes down to which wheel squeals the most is sure to get the grease and the grease gets passed down to consumers who get hosed and greased before they start squealing. I'm getting close to buying boxes from other countries with paid programming which would make it legal and the in the end, its the big four who will get hosed but they won't be getting any grease from me. No more for the big 4 and the CRTC can pucker up and kiss my...rectifier.
     
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  10. whatsup745

    whatsup745 Moderator

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    The boxes themselves are not illegal nor are they trying to stop the sale of a legit box.. its the selling of the box loaded with apps and add-ons that can get you free "pay" TV channels and copyrighted TV shows and Movies that is at issue here.

    So to answer your question... yes a seller can sell just the box. They just can't load certain apps such as Showbox and addons such as Exodus, Phoenix, 1channel etc.. that give the end user free pay based channels and content.
    They also can't show you how to load these apps/addons or encourage/assist the loading of them.
    A blank box is perfectly legal !!
    End user can load what they want after getting it and it does not reflect on the reseller.
     
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  11. Deadwood

    Deadwood Member

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    I just ordered a combination box in spite of my own reservations on buying a Sat / IPTV combo receiver. There is nothing on this receiver aside from the usual basic garbage apps which can be uninstalled or deleted since its not a locked box. The "magic" happens after I get the box and I get the right software apps / apks to install. This is pretty much the way things will continue to work which will allow the sales of boxes with no apps, software or apks packages preloaded. If one wants a magic box, they will have to perform the magic on the box to get one. I don't see any way of preventing sales of Raspberry Pi, Android, IOS or Linux boxes being sold to anyone, anywhere. Connecting to private servers without pre authorization or some form of magic will not be possible and for those who use a good VPN which has no restrictions on bandwidth, it won't be possible for anyone to know who or what you're connected to. Hope this helps to tone down some dubious thoughts on the future of boxes and server issues.
     
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    Last edited: Jun 23, 2016

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