It’s no secret that TV is having a renaissance right now. With the rise of streaming, smartphones and internet TV, an assembly line of scripted shows, movies and documentaries about all sorts of topics are in production. Along with sparking fierce competition, this has put high demand on the technology it takes to watch this content.
While Netflix has won most of the praise for its streaming apparatus, Amazon, Showtime and other companies are all throwing considerable resources in the marketplace to close the gap. But there are other, smaller players out there that are siphoning market share from the same viewership pie.
Netflix, Amazon file piracy lawsuit against Dragon Box streaming device seller
Foremost among these is Dragon Box, which sells a so-called “set-up box” that allows the user to watch all kinds of content without cable and the constraints of a contract or even a monthly fee. The Carlsbad, California-based company also has a robust affiliate and resellers program that encourages customers to sell the boxes for a percentage of the sale price.
The major TV studios have been relying on lawmakers to crack down on the set-up box companies but have bristled in the face of new regulations associated with reform. As a result, the studios along with major media companies such as Netflix and Amazon have filed a lawsuit against Dragon Box, alleging that the company facilitates illegal streaming and copyright infringement, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The companies have taken particular umbrage to the bold claims by Dragon Box that consumers should drop them and get all the latest shows and movies for free.
This is what one Dragon Box advertisement says: “What if you no longer had to pay for PPV events such as UFC, Boxing, or WWE? Stream them all live in HD with The Dragon Box! Cancel your NFL ticket “Red Zone”, NBA League Pass, and NHL Center Ice! All are free with The Dragon Box receiver in HD! You do not need cable tv for the box to work all you need is an Internet connection and HDTV.”
On Dragon Box’s About Page under the question “Is it legal?” it touts the company’s use of the open-source media application Kodi (formerly XBMC). “The development of the XBMC/Kodi add-ons which provide access to online movies and TV channels are created by third-party add-on developers and are not the official intended purpose of the XBMC/Kodi Media Center. It’s all 100% legal as all the software is doing is accessing content that is readily available online in an open source format.”
TickBox, a Georgia-based company that sells a Kodi-powered streaming device, was also named in a similar suit by Netflix, Amazon and Hollywood studios in October. As detailed on TorrentFreak.com, TickBox responded by saying that the technology “which Plaintiffs so heavily focus are not the [TickBox], and they have absolutely nothing to do with Defendant. Rather, they are third-party modifications of the open-source media player software [Kodi] which the Box utilizes.”
But that’s not how Netflix and the gang sees it.
The new 23-page complaint, according to the L.A. Times, alleges that, “Dragon Box uses software to link its customers to infringing content on the Internet. When used as defendants intend and instruct, Dragon Box gives defendants’ customers access to multiple sources that stream plaintiffs’ copyrighted works without authorization.”
A statement obtained by Variety from Dragon Box’s attorney says that the case could turn the content industry on its head: “The suit is a very dangerous gamble by plaintiffs. If the case goes against plaintiffs, they will establish law that could harm their very existence. They will also have provided my clients with tremendous publicity and free advertising. It is worth noting and curious that the Dragon Box is sold widely on plaintiff Amazon’s website. Perhaps Amazon will sue itself? We may be co-defendants soon. I will be happy to collaborate with Amazon on a defense strategy.”
Team Clark has written extensively about streaming devices and their pros/cons. Whether you agree with set-up companies’ assessment that they are just capitalizing on open-source technology or not, consumers deserve other vital amenities when spending their money, including robust customer service, quality guarantees and confidence that the company will always do the right thing.
Team Clark reviews of popular streaming services:
- Hulu: 4 things to know about its live TV streaming service
- 5 things to know before you sign up for Sling TV
- Should you sign up for Youtube TV?