Netflix and Amazon joined with the major studios on Wednesday in a lawsuit against Dragon Box, as the studios continue their crackdown on streaming devices.
The suit accuses Dragon Box of facilitating piracy by making it easy for customers to access illegal streams of movies and TV shows. Some of the films available are still in theaters, including Disney’s “Coco,” the suit alleges.
Dragon Box has advertised the product as a means to avoid paying for authorized subscription services, the complaint alleges, quoting marketing material that encourages users to “Get rid of your premium channels … [and] Stop paying for Netflix and Hulu.”
The same studios filed a similar complaint in October against TickBox, another device that enables users to watch streaming content. Both TickBox and Dragon Box make use of Kodi add-ons, a third-party software application.
Dragon Box, which is based in Carlsbad, Calif., did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“The commercial value of Defendants’ Dragon Box business depends on high-volume use of unauthorized content through the Dragon Box devices,” the suit alleges. “Defendants promise their customers reliable and convenient access to all the content they can stream and customers purchase Dragon Box devices based on Defendants’ apparent success in delivering infringing content to their customers.”
TickBox, which is based in Georgia, has argued that it merely offers a hardware device, akin to a laptop or a tablet, and is not responsible for any copyright infringement that may occur on that device. TickBox recently removed marketing language that seemed to promise viewers could use the device to watch subscription channels for free.
Dragon Box CEO Paul Christoforo is named as a defendant in the suit. On his LinkedIn page, Christoforo advertises the Dragon Box device “opens up a whole new world of possibilities, where free movies and TV channels online are endless.”
Christoforo goes on to state that the device is legal.
“It is legal to stream content on the internet,” he writes, in all caps. “We can’t be held liable for the movies and TV channels online that people are watching, because all the software is doing is accessing content that is readily available online.”
The Dragon Box device lists for $350 on the company’s website. According to a recent call for resellers, the company has 250,000 customers in all 50 states.
Christoforo was formerly president of Ocean Distribution, where he became notorious online for a hostile customer service exchange, in which he advised a customer to “put on your big boy hat and wait it out like everyone else.”
Update, Mon. Jan. 15: Attorney Erik Syverson, of Syverson, Lesowitz & Gebelin, has issued a statement on behalf of Dragon Box:
“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.”