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Blocking entire app stores would be the most dramatic anti-piracy act we’ve seen yet

Published Apr 16th, 2018 11:34PM EDT
IPTV services 2018

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Two media companies are seeking one of the most sweeping legal orders we’ve seen yet from an Australian court, in an effort to reduce the use of paid pirate IPTV services.

The two motions are being brought by a Hong Kong-based TV firm and Australia’s Roadshow Films, ComputerWorld reports, and they’re trying to shut down pirated IPTV services, normally delivered via Android TV boxes that are cheaply available with software that provides a cable-esque experience without actually paying for channels.

IPTV pirate boxes aren’t new. But what is is the legal strategy that the content owners are trying to get the boxes shut down. Rather than go after the companies selling the boxes or individual users, the rightsholders are trying to get the app stores that host the Android app shut down. Those app stores, which are alternatives to the Google Play store that provide APKs for all sorts of Android apps, host just as many legitimate apps as they do ones that are for illegal content:

The company acknowledged that many of those marketplaces, which are somewhat akin to the Play marketplace offered by Google for Android devices, contain apps that aren’t specifically focused on copyright infringement — for example, Netflix and YouTube apps.

However, the company argues that the primary purpose of the marketplaces is to facilitate copyright infringement and that the non-infringing apps can be downloaded elsewhere.

If Roadshow gets its way, Australian consumers will be prevented from accessing an entire app marketplace because one app on the marketplace streams some content that may be infringing on copyright (the verdict still seems to be out on that), setting a dangerous precedent for how deep website owners would need to dig to ensure they’re not hosting anything that could infringe on any copyright, anywhere in the world.

Chris Mills
Chris Mills News Editor

Chris Mills has been a news editor and writer for over 15 years, starting at Future Publishing, Gawker Media, and then BGR. He studied at McGill University in Quebec, Canada.