TickBox, the Georgia-based manufacturer of a streaming TV device, has agreed to a $25 million judgment to settle a copyright infringement case brought by the major studios.
TickBox also agreed to a permanent injunction, under which it will no longer provide software that allows users to access pirated content, and agrees to disable any such software within 24 hours.
The settlement is a win for the studios, which joined with Netflix and Amazon to take on manufacturers of several TV devices. Calling themselves the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, the group also sued the makers of the Dragon Box. Both devices allowed users to download Kodi “add-ons” that facilitated access to copyrighted content.
“TickBox and many other piracy devices and streaming apps are a threat to the millions of creators around the world who make films and television shows,” ACE said in a statement. “Today’s stipulated judgment and permanent injunction is a significant victory for ACE and the creative community, ensuring TickBox will no longer sell illegal access to pirated movie and television content.”
The MPAA, whose members are part of ACE, also applauded the settlement.
“The film and television industry supports 2.1 million U.S. jobs, and our highest priority is protecting this creative economy from illegal online theft,” MPAA Chairman and CEO Charles Rivkin said in a statement. “We applaud the stipulated permanent injunction against TickBox, which is an important milestone for the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) and the global effort to reduce online piracy. This action bolsters the legal digital marketplace, champions creators, and benefits audiences everywhere.”
A TickBox device retailed for $150. In its initial advertising, the company promised that customers could get “virtually the channels you get from your local cable company … without you having to worry about paying rental fees or monthly subscriptions.”
TickBox later removed the language and argued that it was merely offering a hardware device, and should not be held liable for its users’ copyright infringement. Judge Michael Fitzgerald did not buy that argument, issuing a preliminary injunction against the company in January.
“There is sufficient evidence that the Device can be and is used to access infringing content, and there is sufficient evidence of TickBox’s fault — primarily in the form of its advertisements and customer-support efforts,” the judge wrote. “TickBox may be held responsible for the instances of infringement that would not have otherwise occurred in the absence of the Device.”
TickBox warned that the ruling would likely put the company out of business. According to the stipulated judgment, TickBox and founder Jeffrey Goldstein are both on the hook for the $25 million judgment, though it is unclear whether either will be able to pay. The company’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.