Film Fridays – Major movie studios, Netflix & Amazon to sue Tickbox TV streaming service

Movie studios, Netflix, and Amazon have banded together to file a first-of-its-kind copyright lawsuit against a streaming media player called TickBox TV.

The complaint says the TickBox devices are nothing more than “tool[s] for mass infringement,” which operate by grabbing pirated video streams from the Internet. The lawsuit was filed by Amazon and Netflix Studios, along with six big movie studios that make up the Motion Picture Association of America: Universal, Columbia, Disney, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, and Warner Bros.

The device’s marketing materials let users know the box is meant to replace paid-for content, with “a wink and a nod,” by predicting that prospective customers who currently pay for Amazon Video, Netflix, or Hulu will find that “you no longer need those subscriptions.”

The lawsuit shows that Amazon and Netflix, two Internet companies that are relatively new to the entertainment business, are more than willing to join together with movie studios to go after businesses that grab their content.

User searches for copyrighted content on a TickBox will lead to unauthorized pirate streams. The MPAA makes that point in the complaint, which describes how it was easy to find a stream of the movie War for the Planet of the Apes in September 2017. The movie wasn’t authorized for in-home viewing of any kind at that time.

A TickBox TV customer could simply select the “In Theaters” category and be presented with a variety of movies that aren’t authorized for in-home viewing of any kind. As the complaint explains, the user is then presented with a variety of current 2017 releases, including Fox’s War for the Planet of the Apes, the third listed title. On September 11, 2017, 44 pirated streams of the movie were available to TickBox users, even though Fox had not authorized the movie for in-home viewing of any kind.

If TickBox actually were to step up and defend this lawsuit, it would be an interesting battle in the copyright wars. In a way, it’s just the newest iteration in a long line of technology products that can be used for infringing or non-infringing purposes. One can get a sense of TickBox’s defense by reading even the first few lines of text on its website, which loudly proclaim the product’s legality.

Further down, the Q&A asks: “What TV shows and movies can I see for free?” The answer:

You can see almost every movie and TV series ever made. You can even access movies and shows that are still on Demand and episodes of TV that were just aired. You will never pay to watch any of them.

– Excerpt from an article written by Joe Mullin. Full article found here

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