Canadian Federal Court grants injunction against streamboxes
The streambox MLM niche appears to have dissipated as quickly as it appeared.
The first one I reviewed was vStream TV back in March, 2015. Over the rest of 2015 another five MLM streambox opportunities were launched and reviewed.
So far in 2016? Only two.
Most of the controversy around the various piracy box opportunities focuses on the legality of selling access to piracy. Affiliates of such schemes often evoke the strawman argument that watching streamed pirated content is legal.
This obviously doesn’t address the profiting from piracy issue.
The lawsuit in question was filed in the Canadian Federal Court by Bell Canada, Rogers Communications, Videotron and others against ‘several retailers of Android set-top boxes‘.
The plaintiffs made claims under both the Copyright Act and Radiocommunication Act, the latter due to the devices receiving “illegally decrypted programming”.
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.
The one defendant that rocked up, trotted out excuses similar to what we’ve seen from MLM streambox company affiliates:
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.”
The court’s decision reads much like any BehindMLM review of an MLM streambox opportunity:
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.
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.
The Court went on to grant an interlocutory injunction against the streambox sellers, with “companies selling similar devices” able to be added to the injunction at the plaintiff’s request.
In the order granting the injunction, the presiding Judge wrote;
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.
The matter still has to go trial (if it even gets there), but for now the sale of streamboxes by the named defendants has been prohibited.
Should the lawsuit go ahead, the granting of the injunction is a strong indicator the streambox sellers will lose.
No action has been taken against streambox sellers in the US, but you’ve got to be pretty naive if you’re still shucking piracy boxes through MLM.
It’s profiting from piracy, and sooner or later the law will catch up with you.