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Maker of $300 Illegal Free TV Box Sued by Netflix, Amazon, Others

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By George Khoury, Esq. on January 17, 2018 6:00 AM

Free TV still exists, and some of the new digital antennae even resemble the bunny-ears of years past. However, just like stealing cable became a thing decades ago, stealing streaming subscription TV is becoming a thing in our 21st century digital world.

If you didn't know, there are numerous websites out there, with less than scrupulous regard for U.S law, that allow anyone to stream just about anything on TV or in the theaters, for free. A new-ish device, The Dragon Box, allows individuals to essentially watch everything available online from these types of websites, right on their TVs, regardless of legality. Not surprisingly, the legitimate streaming services, and other providers, have a problem with this new device and have filed a lawsuit in the Federal District Court for Central District of California. Plaintiffs include: Netflix, Amazon, Disney, Paramount, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal, Warner Bros., and Columbia Pictures. 

Turning Users Into Pirates

The claims of the legitimate streaming media providers may fall upon unsympathetic ears of a public sick of being nickel and dimed by the TV providers, but it is hard to deny the fact that the Dragon Box and devices like it are specially designed to help individuals stream pirated media. The legit providers' primary claim is that Dragon Box encourages the consumption of pirated media. The lawsuit seeks to disgorge profits and stop the enterprise from moving forward.

The basic problem in claiming a device like the Dragon Box should be banned is that a computer can be plugged into just about any TV these days, and a person can simply stream the same exact content. However, when a company profits from aiding, and encouraging, individuals to access pirated material, this seems less grey. 

The lawsuit provides several specific examples, including the fact that each device comes with access to a special app/add-on that provides free access to live premium cable TV channels.

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