TVAddons is back.
But it hasn’t come back with a bang.
Because now it has to contend with a war from four of the biggest Telcos in Canada.
We’re talking about,
- Bell Canada
All have combined forces to sue TVAddons.
For those who don’t know, TVAddons is a wildly popular Kodi add-on.
This add-on repository allows users to view more copyrighted content via Kodi.
And while Kodi is legal to use and distribute, these Kodi add-ons put Kodi in a bit of a legal gray area.
TorrentFreak recently reported that TVAddons indeed faced collective lawsuits from four of the biggest telcos in Canada.
Who is the lawsuit against specifically?
For now, These Telcos are only targeting the operator behind TVAddons.
And for what?
For allegedly distributing Kodi add-ons software unlawfully.
We’re not really sure if there is a better example of those in authority abusing their powers.
In other words, the case against TVAddons has already witnessed that power abuse.
It is quite shocking as we shall reveal throughout the length of this report.
For now, readers should know that the case against TVAddons is purely based on online copyright infringement activities.
TVAddons Comes Back. But Comes Back Straight To A Lawsuit
Believe it or not but this isn’t the first time TVaddons has faced such a significant lawsuit.
An entity by the name of Dish Network had also filed a legal case against Kodi add-on repository TVAddons in the state of Texas.
As a result of DIsh Network lawsuit, multiple well-known and widely used Kodi add-ons measured their situation and decided to shut down.
After some time had passed, TVaddons also decided to let its contributions to the Kodi community go and shut down with peace.
But that is not the end of the story.
Since TVAddons went down, a Canadian law firm acquired several domains related to TVaddons.
As you can probably imagine, this is a rather mysterious scenario.
Now, the legal action initially came from the US.
And folks over there did not appreciate the fact that the someone or some authority had signed over those domains to the Canadian law firm.
According to a report from TorrentFreak, the US legal action had nothing to do with the shutdown of TVAddons.
In fact, TVAddons went offline because of a separate lawsuit.
This lawsuit came from Canada.
And eventually, lead to the shutdown of TVAddons.
What’s The Problem With TVAddons? Why Are So Many Entities Going After TVAddons?
The problem is simple enough when you consider that TVAddons is nothing but a Kodi add-on.
This add-on allows people to watch copyrighted content on the internet without paying a single dime.
As you can imagine, this is not entirely legal in most countries.
But this case is different.
To understand this case, let’s have a look at what has happened so far.
On June 2, 2017 (almost two months ago), several Canadian telecommunication companies came together to file a complaint against Adam Lackman.
Who is Adam Lackman?
He is the guy behind TVAddons.
Now, these telecommunications companies included the likes of,
- Bell Media
- Rogers Media
- Rogers COmmunication
- Groupe TVA
- And Videotron
Moreover, these telecommunication giants had filed their lawsuit against TVAddons in a Federal Court.
The complaint took the form of an 18-page document.
The document from the involved Canadian companies detailed their case against TVaddons creator Adam Lackman.
Basically, the complaint explained that Adam Lackman communicated copyrighted content including some of the biggest TV shows on the planet.
These TV shows included big names such as,
- Prison Break
- America’s Got Talent
- Games of Thrones
- Keeping Up With The Kardashians
- The Big Bang Theory
- And many more.
According to these telecommunication companies, Adam Lackman had released these TV shows to the general public and had violated their copyrights.
What’s The Key Claim?
The main point, according to the telecommunication companies, against Lackman is that he planned the whole thing well beforehand.
More specifically, Canadian telecommunication companies say that Lackman,
all these Kodi add-ons which allowed Kodi users to watch copyrighted content on their TV screens without proper permissions.
How Many add-ons Again?
About eighteen in total.
At least these are the ones that this group of Canadian Telecommunications companies has detailed in their complaint.
These Kodi add-ons include the likes of,
- Stream All The Sources
Now, TorrentFreak reports, other add-ons are also coming into the picture.
Right now, the Canadian telecommunication companies are focusing on FreeTelly.
FreeTelly, is just another version of the standard Kodi.
Think of it more like a custom build.
The distributor of this Kodi add-on is also TVAddons.
TVAddons distributes this Kodi build alongside TVAddons’ Indigo, which is a simple Kodi configuration tool.
What Does The Complaint Say?
As mentioned before, the actual complaint takes up around 18 pages.
But in one of the sections, the complaint reads that the defendant had made their premium TV shows available to the general public via telecommunication.
And the defendant did so in a way that allowed a vast number of members of the public to gain access to their premium content at a time and place of the individual user’s choosing.
As a consequence of the defendant’s actions, the Plaintiff claimed copyright infringement.
In the next few lines, the complaint filed against TVAddons also went on to mention the exact sections of the Copyright Act that telecoms thought the defendant had violated.
More precisely, according to the complaint, the defendant had violated sections,
- 2.4 (1.1)
- 27 (1)
- 3 (1) (f)
of the Copyright Act.
What Does The Complaint Allege?
The complaint alleged that Adam Lackman had authorized and/or induced FreeTelly and Indigo tool users to engage in copyright infringement.
He did that by handling and promoting his copyright infringing Kodi add-ons.
The complaint also mentioned the exact add-ons the Plaintiffs thought the defendant had used.
According to the complaint, Adam had caused copyright infringement via add-ons such as,
The complaint also added that the Plaintiffs had approximated that more than forty million unique users based in various locations around the world had actively used these copyright infringing Add-ons.
As mentioned before, TVAddons Kodi repository had hosted these copyright infringing Add-ons.
And that’s just the data for a single month.
Moreover, the complaint mentioned, that over 900,000 households in Canada used their copyright infringing Add-ons in order to gain access to premium television content.
Furthermore, the number of users who used these copyright infringing Kodi add-ons that TVADdons hosted had continued to rise in recent months.
The complaint also asked the court to take measures against TVAddons in order to limit the damage done by these add-ons.
One of the measures, the complaint mentioned, is a permanent, interim and interlocutory injunctions.
These injunctions would directly restrain Adam Lackman and his associated from promoting, distributing and/or developing more copyright infringing Kodi add-ons.
Or any other type of copyright infringing software for that matter.
The Plaintiffs have also requested the court to take exemplary and punitive damages into considerations in additions to the actual costs.
What Is Anton Piller Order And What Does It Have To Do With The Interim Injunction?
As expected, the Federal Court jumped into action pretty quickly after these Canadian Telecommunication companies had filed their complaint.
And on June 9, 2017, the court decided that it would pass down a judgment which would take care of the above-mentioned concerns that Canadian companies have with Adam Lackman.
And the court would do that with the help of a time-limited interim injunction.
This interim injunction would restrain Lackman from taking part in various types of activities that involve TVAddons.
Perhaps we should also mention the fact that the whole process took place ex parte.
What does ex parte mean?
It means that the proceeding took place secretively.
And it also means that Lackman did not have an opportunity to come up with a defense.
Moreover, the court also, perhaps rightly, authorized a bailiff along with some computer forensics experts in order to gain control of various internet domain names.
- Other related social media account
- Hosting service accounts.
The court decided that it would take control of all of these for a period of fourteen days.
After that, the court also transferred the above-mentioned “items” to Daniel Drapeau who works at DrapeauLex.
You may legitimately ask what on earth is DrapeauLex?
It is just an independent supervising counsel appointed by the related court.
Now About The Anton Piller Order
The court’s order also included an Anton Piller Order.
What is the Anton Piller Order?
Think of it more like a civil search warrant.
This warrant allows the plaintiffs to have no-notice permission to first enter and then search the defendant’s premises.
Plaintiffs can then use the same warrant to copy and secure evidence which they may feel would support their court case.
Of course, this also ensures that the Plaintiffs are able to carry out the above-mentioned actions before someone can tamper with or destroy them.
More Details About The Court Order
To us, it seems like the court made an extra effort to ensure that the court order reached a high level of comprehensiveness.
In other words, the court order covered a lot of ground in order to protect the interests of the Plaintiffs without much regard for the rights of the defendant.
More specifically, we know that the court order covered the related data to Adam’s TVAddons online platform.
This data included financial and operating details along with banking information and revenue streams.
But what we didn’t know, and probably most of you didn’t know either, is that the court order also covered data related to everything that Adam Lackman had in his possession at the time.
Moreover, the court also ordered these Canadian telecoms companies to inform the defendant, Adam Lackman, that the court had carried out a civil proceeding case against him.
And that granted him the right to deny anyone entry to his own property if he deemed it fit.
Here is the kicker though:
The court order also said that if Lackman exercised that option he would violate the court order.
And that would put him at an even greater risk of a court fine and imprisonment.
Before reading this court order, we always found it hard to explain to someone what a catch 22 situation meant.
After reading this court order, we can safely say that this is it.
This is a catch 22 situation.
The Court Isn’t All Evil.
Sometimes the court can make a bit of sense.
In this case, the court did restrict the number of personnel who could take part in the execution of the Anton Piller Order.
Apparently, the court thinks that by not putting a limit on the number of people it would remove the possibility of occurrence of any intimidation.
The court also ordered the Canadian Telecoms companies, the Plaintiffs, to deposit about $50,000 CAD with it.
According to the court, it demanded the deposit as a safety policy in case the involved personnel did not execute the Anton Piller order properly.
It is an entirely another fact that this decision of the court would eventually turn out as a significant one.
Searching And Interrogating the TVAddons Operator
By the time we reached June 12, 2017, authorities had already executed the court order.
And hence allowed related people to search Adam Lackman’s premises.
They searched his premises for more than sixteen hours.
They also interrogated Adam for more than nine hours.
Moreover, this action of theirs also ensured that Adam didn’t get to exercise his right to remain silent.
We also know that any form of non-cooperation would have meant that he had violated the terms of the Anton Piller Order.
This could have further lead the court to have judged Adam in contempt of court.
TorrentFreak also reported that the court’s stated objective of ensuring that authorities did not intimidate Lackman, effectively failed.
Moreover, the related TVAddons operator also informed TorrentFreak that he had heard some kind of disturbance right outside in the hallway.
The operator also told TorrentFreak that he spotted multiple men who had hid on the opposite side of the door.
As expected, Lackman felt a sense of fear and immediately called the police department.
When the police eventually arrived, he opened the door.
Those in attendance told the police to leave the premises regardless of the fact that Lackman didn’t want them to.
Once the police left and Lackman had come inside, the “men” told Lackman that he had about an hour to find a suitable lawyer.
As an added challenge, these men also told him that he could not make use of any electronic device in order to get a lawyer.
We’re not entirely sure, but something feels awfully wrong in the way Lackman had been treated since the handing down of the court order.
To read more on TorrentFreak, click here.