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Tag Archive: Free TV

Cable Companies Launch Suit Against Android TV Box Vendors

Android TV boxes are giving cable companies a run for their money, which may be why the biggest cable companies are trying to shut down vendors that sell these boxes with the promise of free television. For a one -time fee that ranges from $40 to $250, users can attach the box to their television and stream pirated content like movies, TV shows, and live broadcasts, thus eliminating the need to pay for cable.

Cable companies in Canada – Rogers Communications, Bell Media, and Videotron – have recently taken legal action against five Canadian Android TV vendors – iTVBox, Android Bros Sales, MTLFreeTV, My Electronics, and WatchNSaveNow – and have won a temporary injunction that prevents them from selling the boxes at this time.

At the hearing, the cable companies argued that these boxes cause “irreparable harm” to their business and claimed that “piracy is one of the top causes for declining subscriptions for television services in Canada”.

A lawyer for Vincent Wesley, owner of MTLFreeTV, argued that the Android boxes are simply like “iPads, Apple TVs or computers”, all of which can be used for both legal and illegal purposes and that “the vendor doesn’t control or authorize what users do, or what software providers enable users to do”.

According to CBC News, a source close to the case says that a sixth company has been added as a defendant. This source also states that the cable companies started with these five vendors because they could get a quick injunction, but that they also intend to widen it across the country to shut down illegal streaming via Android boxes as best they can.

To learn more about this case, visit the CBC News website. What are your thoughts on this case? Do you agree with the initial ruling siding with the big cable companies?

This is most likely not the last that we will hear about this issue as illegal streaming and piracy remain a hot topic in today’s digital world.

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Online Free TV Is (Technically) Legal In Canada

Anyone mildly savvy to the ways of the internet and copyright laws knows that downloading copyrighted content is a big no-no. A big problem in recent years, Canada’s Copyright Act made certain that the downloading of copyrighted content of any kind without permission is outright illegal.

Such laws that prohibit downloading, however, don’t technically apply to streaming television programs, effectively making free TV completely legal in Canada.

Unlike downloading, streaming “falls a little bit into that grey area” comments legal expert Michael Geist. The reason being that, unlike downloading, which involves creating a digital copy of a movie or television show, streaming is inherently “transient,” with no re-watchable copy made.

With that, anyone reprimanded for streaming a television show could simply say they weren’t making making a permanent copy, as streaming is really just a temporary reproduction, and thus be exempt from any Canadian copyright laws.

For a majority of popular streaming services, the most popular example being Netflix, this isn’t really useful information. Such streaming services have already struck deals with the owner’s of the content they stream, so there isn’t any copyright infringement going on in the slightest. You can Netflix all you like (which is a lot for many) and never have to worry about an allegation of copyright infringement notice.

But for folks who stream movies and shows from file-sharing websites, or use devices like The Free TV Box which effectively allows you to watch almost anything as long as a stream-able file exists online, this is essential information to know, no legal research needed.

As Geist notes, the majority of individuals who do stream content are using paid-for subscriptions, and so for the time being its unlikely the Canadian government will crack down on users who stream. But, should amount of individuals who utilize free file-sharing websites (which would be deemed illegal if they were operating out of Canada) grow, it’s likely the practice will fall firmly out of the legal grey area.

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