TVAddons Will Lose Its Case An Editorial

The TVAddons court case in Canada is going to end badly for Adam Lackman. Even more so, there is a push led by Dish Network to prosecute Lackman and the developer behind Zem TV in the US. The days of freewheeling and public flaunting of copyrighted material and its distribution are on their way over as far as third-party add-ons in the Kodi Community.

Despite Lackman’s persistent arguments that TVAddons was completely unaware of the Kodi add-ons which allowed users to access movies and TV shows, the courts in Canada are beginning to break down his defense piece by piece.

For instance. While Lackman is already in trouble in Canada, his trouble in the US could be just beginning. Lackman through statements has essentially tried to argue that TVAddons was not responsible for add-ons that were made to scrape TV shows and movies. Lackman may believe that because he didn’t design the add-ons in question. But there is a big problem.

His website pushed the use of violating add-ons. According to Dish Network, a particularly damning piece of evidence against Lackman is straight from his websites basic marketing. “Defendants’ boasting on TVAddons that their services allow users ‘to cut down your cable or satellite television bill substantially, if not entirely’ shows that Defendants were well aware that TVAddons and ZemTV were harming DISH and other legitimate, subscription television service providers in the United States,” Dish writes.

This argument appears based on the idea that it is not possible to replace cable and satellite systems using Kodi add-ons that do not link to copyrighted materials. That is unless someone is looking to replace cable programming by watching video podcasts, weather reports and select episodes of TV shows via the official Kodi repository. But the add-ons from the official repository are not what TVAddons was originally in place to promote. Emails to those on their mailing list regularly promoted the “best new add-ons to watch sports,” or best “new add-ons to watch Movies” and those add-ons most definitely were taking the content and distributing it without permission.

To pretend not to know that some third-party add-on is not the rightful distributor or ESPN or Game of Thrones is to claim ignorance at an unconscionable level. And it frankly bellies logic. Does anybody believe for instance that I could secure the rights to distribute all of Netflix’s original content for free even though Netflix charges a monthly fee for it? Lackman’s defense in the face of the evidence against him appears to be that it is patently unfair that the facts against him are laid out by lawyers who are paid to know what they are talking about as they pursue their claims against him because he does not have the financial power to respond in kind.

“They spent over a year preparing their case, with billions of dollars in resources at their disposal. We had less than a week. Their evidence was taken by the appeals court at face value, entirely untested. All that this situation demonstrates is that community platforms in Canada are not protected against liability from user-generated content in the same way that they are in the United States. They could have forbid us from indexing the 16 addons they claimed to be infringing, but instead they completely silenced us, even taking our social media accounts. At the current time, our site indexes almost 1000 addons, none of which are in any way infringing.”

I know that some out there feel that companies already have their money. And they may also have legitimate financial concerns for their families that are helped by not paying what the consider rip off prices to cable companies just to watch the news and football or follow a favorite show. Trust me. I get it. That’s why we started the Streaming Advisor in the first place. But those who look at people like Lackman as some sort of victim or as a modern day Robin Hood need to understand something. The fact that media companies are rich does not give Adam Lackman, or some YouTube personality the right to make a small fortune promoting the theft of material. Any more than I have the right to steal a TV from Best buy and sell it as Ryan Vision for half the price at the flea market.

As I have said a number of times, there are regular 9-5 workers in the entertainment industry who do not fly first class if they have the time or money to fly at all. And the distributors that pay those entertainment whether they be HBO or Comcast as well as the Studious themselves are going to stamp out player after player in that part of the world and make examples out of them through public court cases, shut down notices and such.

It’s already had a major impact as one Kodi developer after another has called it quits and taken down their code. And while there will always be a “secret” (do you think they wouldn’t roll over in a second) Facebook group here and there it doesn’t mean that piracy or whatever you want to call it will continue at this level for years to come.

They are not perfect, but there are ways to watch TV without spending hundreds. There are so many apps and devices that allow people to save money and watch programming they want to see or even discover something they never realized they could enjoy. This is the way forward on this front. We are currently working to provide people with the understanding to find the kinds of services that can help them save lots of money without breaking the law or supporting others who do.

PDF OF Dish’s response

Click to access dishreply.pdf