Hollywood studios and subscription streaming video services have been granted a preliminary injunction against TickBox TV, the Atlanta-based company allegedly selling illegal access to myriad TV shows and movies through a proprietary set-top box.
U.S. Federal District Judge Michael Fitzgerald Jan. 30 in Los Angeles ruled TickBox must maintain changes it made to its user interface and marketing after Universal Pictures, Columbia, Walt Disney Studios, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., Amazon and Netflix filed a lawsuit last October.
TickBox argues it merely sells hardware and cannot be liable for the actions of third-parties, i.e. its consumers.
Indeed, at the bottom of its website, TickBow said its hardware “should not be used to download or stream any copyrighted content without permission from the copyright holder.”
But Fitzgerald ruled that while TickBox had not necessarily “caused” users to illegally stream or download copyrighted content, it had sold them the means to do so.
“TickBox may be held responsible for the instances of infringement that would not have otherwise occurred in the absence of the Device,” Fitzgerald wrote.
The judge ordered TickBox and plaintiffs to iron out technical safeguards that protect the latter’s copyrighted content, in addition to implementing software updates that could reset devices already sold.
The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, which represents studios and digital companies such as Amazon, Netflix and Hulu, hailed the judge’s decision.
“This is an important step, particularly given the court’s conclusion that the ACE members are likely to succeed on the merits of their case,” spokesperson Zoe Thorogood said in a statement. “We look forward to further developments in this case.”