Millions of people have accessed streams of copyrighted material via websites, Android APKs and 3rd party add-ons for Kodi, which has recently become an issue. Streaming content from providers like HBO and other major content companies has gone on seemingly unchallenged. This has led developers to put together any number of apps to distribute content via links to servers. Until recently content owners have either not noticed the rise of this kind of activity or turned a blind eye to it because it creates buzz for individual projects. That will change fast if people start demanding ransoms or release copyrighted content early.
At the moment HBO is in a standoff with hackers who claim to have gotten ahold of unreleased episodes HBO series along with other sensitive information. The hackers are threatening to release the content ahead of HBO’s planned rollout unless HBO pays them not to. Earlier in the summer, Disney found itself in the same kind of situation as hackers claimed to have a digital copy of the latest Pirates of The Caribbean movie. These developments are dangerous. But not for the media companies. They are dangerous for those who have been making money in the world of underground streaming and playing in the “grey area” world that exists simply because intellectual property laws have not caught up with the current technology.
You can find just about anything online. Due to the creativity of a number of coders, what used to be a complicated process that required some degree of computer know-how has become a no more complicated to using YouTube. To this point the industry has been aware that people are distributing material but has seemingly looked at it as less a problem and more of a nuisance. Netflix has even used data on popular pirated content to choose what shows to add to its service betting that if it has the content people are trying to take they may well decide to pay a small fee to guarantee a good experience. The thing is that for the most part the content being shared was already out there. On the other hand, release the entire season of Game of Thrones or other unreleased series ahead of time and frankly, that will (I think the most polite way to say this is) put a big target on those that profit from such activity.
Whether it is a someone that promotes apps that distribute links to copyrighted content like Adam Lackman who has come under jeopardy in Canada because of his website which promoted the ability to see what ever a viewer desired or any number of YouTubers who profit from promoting illicit apps and services, if unreleased content begins to make its way into these apps companies like Time Warner and Disney will bring the pain. Even if they can not find say the hackers responsible for the act quickly, those who are behind businesses that profit from the action will be sitting there as easy targets and no self-anointed label will protect them when the lawyers contact Facebook, PayPal, Twitter and other major American based companies to squash it. Eventually, the laws will catch up to the technology and providing links to remote servers will be just as illegal as bringing a camcorder to a movie theater and selling DVDs on the corner.