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Studios Shut Down Dragon Box in Crackdown on Illicit Streaming

The major studios have reached a settlement with the makers of the Dragon Box, a hardware device that once offered customers “free movies and TV channels” online.

The makers of the device have been ordered to pay a $14.5 million judgment for copyright infringement, and will cease operating any streaming TV businesses.

The studios, plus Netflix and Amazon, filed suit in January 2018 as part of a broader crackdown on devices that use Kodi “add-on” software to stream copyrighted content.

The studios that comprise the MPAA joined with Netflix and Amazon to form the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, which brought several complaints. In September, the organization reached a deal with the makers of another device, the TickBox, under which the manufacturers agreed to a $25 million judgment.

The Dragon Box once retailed for as much as $350, and its manufacturer, Dragon Media, claimed more than 250,000 customers. CEO Paul Christoforo argued on his LinkedIn page that the device was legal, because he could not control what customers were accessing online.

But the company was hit hard by the lawsuit. In September, amid widespread customer complaints that the boxes no longer worked, the company announced that it would be changing its service to provide “the best legal content we can.” The company then rolled out BlendTV, with subscription packages starting at $40 per month.

At the time, the company disclosed on its Facebook page that “legal fee’s (sic) are bringing the company close to bankruptcy.”

“Everyone is here knew that this wasn’t going to last forever Hollywood was losing to much money and all good things must come to an end it was a fun 5 years,” the company said (sic throughout). “The boxes and the former content is still available on the internet we just can not help with any facilitation what so ever.”

In November, the company informed its users that BlendTV “got its content pulled.” Customers were later redirected to a new service, titled “My TV Hub.”

The company appears to have pivoted again, as its website now redirects to a site called BioReigns, which markets herbal supplements containing CBD oil. The Dragon Box Facebook page now includes instructions on becoming a BioReigns distributor.

Under the settlement, Dragon Media has agreed to discontinue BlendTV and My TV Hub.

Matthew Faust, an attorney for Dragon Media, said device customers would receive software updates as a result of the agreement.

“Dragon Media has to comply with copyright law,” Faust said.

Richard VanOrnum, a spokesman for the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, said the settlement is a victory in the battle against piracy.

“Today’s legal victory is another significant and positive step in reducing online piracy and supporting creators around the world,” he said. “ACE is pleased the agreement will ensure the immediate shutdown of the illegal Dragon Box system. The theft of creative content is a pervasive threat to the dynamic legal marketplace for movie and television content, and ACE will continue its global efforts to advance creativity.”

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