Let me say up front that this story is an editorial piece. It addresses an issue that has been simmering in my mind for a long time, It addresses what I view to be Amazon’s hypocritical position on Android box sellers in regards to preventing piracy. In this story, we provide links to the illicit products we talk about but for full disclosure, I can say that The Streaming Advisor has no affiliation with the products in this story nor do we have any agreement with ebay. The links are provided in order to ensure that our readers know that we didn’t photoshop the pictures in order to imply anything that is not plainly available. Get ready to have your feathers ruffled.
-Ryan Downey The Streaming Advisor.
The Amazon Fire TV and Fire Stick are far too well known for their ability to support Kodi and Android Apps that distribute copyrighted material. Amazon never ever markets itself this way but it is an open secret that the Android-based system is a popular platform for piracy. The most popular device to use for this is the Fire TV Stick, which is inexpensive and powerful. A quick search on Google for unlocked Fire TV sticks returned a number of results as seen via a sample below.
On the other hand, try checking out unlocked Roku’s or unlocked Apple TV your results will not include a host of Rokus with illicit programs in place. Apple TV has not been permanently unlockable since its second generation device, which we did find on sale for $419.00, if that listing is indeed a real Apple TV.
Amazon looks totally hypocritical in going after Android box sellers. Almost comical. Go to ebay and type Kodi into the search. Here is what we got when we did it at 1:53 Jan 12, 2018. The seller who returned at the top of the list sells the Fire TV with the legal and legit Kodi software installed. He or she makes the point that Kodi has no addons that violate copyright infringement in place. But once purchased users can get a link to a video that will show you how to install a “user friendly build”. So what this seller is doing is trying to market it as a product that can be used that way but will only provide detailed instructions as to how to do it.
Amazon is in a precarious position here. Because as already stated the company has never openly marketed the idea of installing any programs outside of what is offered in the Amazon App Store. For a short time, Amazon (Though not initially) allowed users to install Kodi directly from its app store. Yet it was pulled by Amazon citing concerns about piracy. The problem for Amazon as has been illustrated in the examples we have provided is that while Amazon can keep apps it does not like out of the App Store it cannot keep the apps from being installed on the Fire TV. While various methods for doing so have been eliminated, such as using the ES File Explorer and Google drive to sideload or directly installing the program via a USB port (the New Fire TV has no USB Port) the Fire TV still supports pretty much any Android app. And to top matters off, Amazon still supports the App Fire DL, which is a free app on the Amazon App Store that allows users to install apps via a simple code. There are dozens of videos that show users how to use the app to install all sorts of pirate friendly apps.
Here is a simple truth. Roku has allowed apps that provided access to copyrighted material in the past. In fact as recently as last year via private channels that could be loaded on the device through its online portal with a simple code. The company though as begun an aggressive crackdown on such channels and has removed most of the most well-known ones much to the chagrin of some users. Apple does not allow developers to be able to permanently install apps on its devices meaning that you can’t sell Apple TV 4k models with pirate apps included and have them last. But Fire TV’s can and do support apps that violate everything that Amazon wants to defend in going after box
sellers like Dragon Box. Their Products are being marketed exactly the same way by other sellers.
If Amazon is serious about combatting piracy via streaming products it’s time that the company stops failing to see the plank in its own eye before it sues to remove the speck out of another’s. Amazon’s partners in the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment like Netflix do not also sell boxes that can support piracy friendly Android apps. There is no popular Netflix box with Mobdro or a custom fully loaded Kodi build included. There are not people raking in YouTube views showing how to use a Waner Brothers Apps app to watch movies that are still in the movie theater. But Fire Stick videos are everywhere. Amazon must change their operating system to prevent this in the future. Otherwise it will have no legs to stand on when it comes to piracy.