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Roku Device Sales Banned in Mexico Over Piracy

Roku’s streaming-media devices are currently banned for purchase in Mexico, after court rulings upheld a decision blocking sales of the products following a challenge by Mexico City’s biggest cable operator.

Cable provider Cablevisión, owned by media conglomerate Grupo Televisa, had sued to stop sales of Roku devices in the country, alleging that pirates are using the devices to illegally sell streaming access to TV channels, including those distributed by Televisa. A judge last week ruled against Roku to block sales of the devices; Roku won a temporary stay of the order, but it was reversed Wednesday by a court tribunal in Mexico City.

On Friday, Cablevisión said a court ruling upheld a decision blocking requests by Office Depot and Radio Shack to resume sales of Roku products in the country.

“Cablevisión cannot allow the content that it licenses from domestic and foreign companies to be illegally used,” a rep for the operator told Reuters. “We would also like Roku Inc. to better supervise the use of its software so that it’s not used inappropriately.”

According to Roku, despite the ruling, its products are still being sold through many retailers in Mexico.

“The businesses that are accused of using the Roku platform to distribute pirated content in Mexico developed Roku channels, and then sold subscriptions to these channels directly to end users,” a Roku rep said. “These channels are non-certified, and they are not available in the Roku Channel Store. In fact, we have ongoing measures in place to find and take down these types of channels.”

Roku’s policies prohibit streaming content on its platform without distribution rights from the copyright holder. The company provides a portal for reporting copyright violations and is “actively cooperating with the content community and other rights holders,” the Roku rep said.

Roku said it will continue the legal fight to have its devices legally approved for sale in Mexico. The court rulings are “not the final word in this complex legal matter,” general counsel Stephen Kay said in a statement.

Roku launched its streaming players in Mexico in October 2015, offering access to services including Netflix, Google Play, Spotify, YouTube, Crackle and Cinépolis Klic.

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