TickBox TV, the streaming device manufacturer that is facing a shutdown threat from major studios, made its first substantive response to the studios’ copyright infringement allegations on Thursday, arguing that the product is not intended to facilitate piracy.
Brandon Witkow, the company’s attorney, filed a motion to oppose the studios’ request for an injunction. The studios — including Universal, Fox, Disney, Warner Bros., Paramount, Amazon and Netflix — filed suit in October, and later asked a federal judge to order the seizure of TickBox devices and the removal of infringing apps.
A TickBox retails for about $150. It connects to a television set, and users are able to download “add ons” that scrape the Internet for video content. The studios contend that TickBox overtly encourages piracy by showing viewers how to access streams of live TV channels and movies now in theaters without paying for them.
The studios’ lawsuit quoted TickBox marketing language, which touted that the device provides “virtually the channels you get from your local cable company… without you having to worry about paying rental fees or monthly subscriptions.”
In his opposition, Witkow argues that the service is not responsible for the conduct of third parties that use its device.
“Defendant offers a computer, onto which users can voluntarily install legitimate or illegitimate software,” Witkow wrote. “The product about which Plaintiffs complain is third-party software which can be downloaded onto a myriad of devices, and which Defendant neither created nor supplies.”
Witkow contends that the TickBox device is similar to any smartphone, tablet or desktop computer. Each device can be used to access copyrighted material, but that does not make the device manufacturer responsible for the infringement.
Following the initial lawsuit, TickBox voluntarily removed links to several “themes” that facilitated access to copyrighted material. In an affidavit attached to the motion, TickBox CEO Jeffrey Goldstein noted that he had also altered the company’s marketing materials in an effort to appease the studios. He argued TickBox is now marketed much the same way Amazon FireStick and Roku devices are sold.
“Defendant does not provide instructions on how to use the Box to access unauthorized content. Nor is such access easy or obvious to users of the Box.” Witkow wrote. “Although access to unauthorized streams is possible, it is no easier or different on the Box than it would be on a computer or mobile phone.”