On January 10, 2018, Netflix and Amazon joined with several major Hollywood studios, including Columbia Pictures, Disney, Paramount, 20th Century, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros, to file suit against Dragon Media for allegedly inducing and facilitating copyright infringement through their streaming device, the Dragon Box.
Dragon Media, based in Carlsbad, California, is the maker of the Dragon Box, a computer hardware device that uses open source and Android software to allow users to stream internet content to their television sets without a subscription. The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, states that the Dragon Box is advertised as a way to “cut your cable & save money” and urges potential customers to stop paying for premium channels, access to movies in theatres, Netflix, and Hulu. The Dragon Box links customers to multiple sources of unauthorized content through a customized media player and selection of popular infringing content.
Copyright owners, who have previously targeted websites such as torrent sites for infringement, have recently focused its attention on hardware manufacturers. Similar claims were brought in October against TickBox, another hardware device that uses the same open source software (Kodi) that the Dragon Box uses. While Kodi is a legal and legitimate open source media player, hardware devices such as Dragon Box and TickBox relies on “addons” that stream the unauthorized content.
Dragon Media argues that it is not providing the pirated content itself; rather, they are providing a platform to access the content that is already online. Attorney for the defendants, Erik Syverson, issued a statement on January 15, stating the suit is a “very dangerous gamble by plaintiffs. . . that could harm their very existence.” The lawsuit itself is “publicity and free marketing” for the defendant. Moreover, Syverson noted that the Dragon Box is ironically widely sold on Amazon, a plaintiff in this case.
The content owners are concerned about the Dragon Box because it facilitates the infringement of their works by making it easier to find infringing content online. Such content would be harder to find if a user had to search through individual websites on a computer.
Jon Brodkin, “‘Free TV’ box lawyer says video industry is ‘digging its own grave’” Ars Technica (January 17, 2018), https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/01/maker-of-free-tv-box-vows-to-fight-lawsuit-filed-by-netflix-and-amazon/
Jon Brodkin, “Netflix, Amazon, and major studios sue maker of ‘free TV’ box” Ars Technica (January 12, 2018), https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/01/netflix-amazon-and-major-studios-sue-maker-of-free-tv-box/
Sam Cook, “Android Set-Top Box Maker Dragon Box Sued for Piracy” Flixed.IO (January 11, 2018), https://flixed.io/dragon-box-sued-for-piracy/
Ryan Faughnder, “Netflix, Amazon and studios sue Dragon Box streaming device seller, alleging copyright theft” LA Times (January 11, 2018), http://www.latimes.com/business/hollywood/la-fi-ct-netflix-dragon-box-piracy-20180111-story.html?ref=gazelle.popsugar.com
Kavita Iyer, “Netflix and Amazon join hands with Hollywood studios to fight piracy against Dragon Media” TechWorm (January 12, 2018), https://www.techworm.net/2018/01/netflix-amazon-join-hands-hollywood-studios-fight-piracy-dragon-media.html
Gene Maddaus, “Studios Sue Dragon Box in Latest Crackdown on Streaming Devices” Variety (January 10, 2018), http://variety.com/2018/digital/news/dragon-box-sued-netflix-amazon-universal-warner-bros-disney-paramount-1202660358/
Anandashankar Mazumdar, “Movie Coalition Ramps Up Fight Against TV Streaming Devices” Bloomberg BNA (January 11, 2018), https://www.bna.com/movie-coalition-ramps-n73014474084/
Anandashankar Mazumdar, “Movie Coalition Ramps Up Fight Against TV Streaming Devices” Bloomberg Law Big Law Business (January 11, 2018), https://biglawbusiness.com/movie-coalition-ramps-up-fight-against-tv-streaming-devices/
Netflix Studios, LLC et al v. Dragon Media Inc. d/b/a Dragon Box et al, case number 2:18-cv-00230 (C.D. Cal.)