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Netflix, Amazon, Other Studios Bring Piracy Lawsuit on TickBox

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Hoping the courts can solve what software solutions can't, several major studios have joined together in a lawsuit against TickBox TV, maker of a set-top box that simplifies streaming pirated premium content to TVs.

Netflix, Amazon, 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Disney, Columbia, Universal, and Warner Bros. are seeking a legal prohibition on TickBox hardware, alleging that it provides "nearly instantaneous access" to their protected content, even movies still in theaters. Claiming copyright infringement, the studios want all TickBox hardware impounded, and ask for $150,000 per infringement. Read the studios' complaint, filed in a California federal court.

TickBox is run out of an office in Georgia, and didn't respond to interview requests from other publications. It claims to be a legal device, its website says, because it doesn't host, download, or store content, and is simply a directory. Access happens via software the owner installs. Instructional videos show how to install "themes" which are actually plug-ins for accessing protected content. The TickBox site markets the devices as a way to get around paying for premium services. TickBox hardware runs on the Android 6.0 operating system and uses Kodi's open source media player software.

While the suit is likely to be successful, it's hard to say how much of an impact it will have in combatting piracy. There are plenty of other hardware devices running Kodi, and many services run through browsers without need for a set-top box. While this case is attracting a good deal of attention, its ultimate impact could be minimal.

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