Read live updates about the TV ADDONS lawsuit and court case as news releases come in and stay up to date on the legal battle taking place in the Kodi community. Read updates about both court courses against TV ADDONS today in our guide.
TV ADDONS is currently battling two court cases, one in Canada from the biggest media providers in the country, and the other in Texas, USA by Dish Network. The charges and finer details vary a little bit, but centre around whether or not TV ADDONS is responsible for the distribution of third-party Kodi addons and bears any responsibility for the legality of the content linked to in these addons.
Below is a dated summary of all legal actions in either TV ADDONS lawsuit. It summarizes the current state of each court case as new changes and news comes out. Overall, it is a historical reference of information to help users in the Kodi community get up to speed.
June 2nd, 2017 – Canadian Telecom Companies File Complaint
On June 2nd, a collection of Canadian telecoms giants including Bell Canada, Bell ExpressVu, Bell Media, Videotron, Groupe TVA, Rogers Communications and Rogers Media, filed a complaint in Federal Canadian Court against the owner of TV ADDONS. They key claim is that by developing, hosting, distributing or promoting Kodi add-ons, TV ADDONS infringed their copyrights.
The court documents claim that TV ADDONS communicated copyrighted TV shows including Game of Thrones, Prison Break, The Big Bang Theory, America’s Got Talent, Keeping Up With The Kardashians and dozens more, to the public in breach of copyright.
The complaint alleges that TV ADDONS “induced and/or authorized users” of the FreeTelly and Indigo tools to carry out infringement by his handling and promotion of infringing add-ons, including through TVAddons.ag and Offshoregit.com, in contravention of sections 3(1)(f) and 27(1) of the Copyright Act.
This complaint was filed with no prior notice given to TV ADDONS. Unbeknownst to them, it would be the start of two separate legal court cases.
June 5th, 2017 – Initial TV ADDONS lawsuit is filed by Dish Network
On this day, news broke that Dish Network had filed a lawsuit against Kodi add-on ZemTV and TVAddons.ag. The complaint accused ZemTV of copyright infringement of various TV channels and argued that TV ADDONS was liable for distributing the addon.
“The ZemTV service is retransmitting these channels over the Internet to end-users that download the ZemTV add-on for the Kodi media player, which is available for download at the websites www.tvaddons.ag and www.tvaddons.org,” wrote Dish Network’s lawyers.
Dish claimed that it sent numerous takedown requests to ZemTV service, but the developer has continued to offer the add-on, circumventing any countermeasures. TV ADDONS claimed that they did not receive any takedown requests and that the Zem addon has previously been removed from their addon library due to an unrelated technical issue.
With the lawsuit, the Dish Network held ZemTV accountable for direct copyright infringement, demanding $150,000 per infringement in damages. TV ADDONS was accused of contributory and vicarious copyright infringement and also faces statutory damages.
June 9th – 12th 2017 – Interim Injunction, Anton Piller Order, TV Addons Offline
Four days after word broke about the Dish Network / TV ADDONS court case, a Canadian judge awarded an interim injunction against TV ADDONS to the telecom companies. In addition, the plaintiffs were granted an Anton Piller order, a civil search warrant designed to seize evidence if they believe that the defendant would destroy evidence if notified in advance.
The Anton Piller order was executed on June 12th, 2017 where TV ADDONS home was searched and he was questioned for over 16 hours, much without a lawyer present. The TV ADDONS domains and social media accounts were seized and transferred to a third-party law firm.
Later on in court, the plaintiffs admitted that the goal was to neutralize TV ADDONS completely. The original judge called the order unlawful, ordered the return of the domains, and a payment of $50,000 to TV ADDONS. A few days later, the telecom companies filed an appeal with the Court of Appeal and all seized property were ordered to remain seized until the conclusion of the appeal.
August 1st, 2017 – TV ADDONS Returns Online With .co Domain
On August 1st, news about the second TV ADDONS lawsuit in Canada and the Anton Piller order breaks after TV ADDONS returns with their new .co domain name. A fundraising effort is launched in an attempt to raise money for legal fees.
The new TV ADDONS website is stripped of any third-party Kodi addons which do not come from verified sources.
After being named in the Dish Network lawsuit, the developer of ZemTV returns to announce that he is fighting the court case and charges brought against him. He launches a crowdfunding effort of his own in order to pay for legal fees.
In the meantime, TV ADDONS announces that they have been busy preparing their legal defence and will be responding to the allegations by Dish Network in the Texas court soon. There is still no word yet of the appeal brought forward from the Canadian telecom companies.
January 8th, 2018 – ZemTV & TV ADDONS Ask Texas Court to Dismiss Lawsuit
In their first official defence, lawyers for ZemTV and TV ADDONS ask a Texas court to dismiss their lawsuit on grounds that the case violates their due process rights since both defendants are foreign nationals who say they have no connection to Texas.
Amongst some of the statements brought forward in the TV ADDONS lawsuit by their attorney:
“Lackman and Durrani have never been residents or citizens of Texas; they have never owned property in Texas; they have never voted in Texas; they have never personally visited Texas; they have never directed any business activity of any kind to anyone in Texas […] and they have never earned income in Texas,” …“Plaintiff’s conclusory allegation that Lackman and Durrani marketed, made available, and distributed ZemTV service and the ZemTV add-on to consumers in the State of Texas and the Southern District of Texas is misleading at best” …
Continuing, they say “Defendants are citizens of Canada and Great Britain and have not had sufficient contacts in the State of Texas for this Court to exercise personal jurisdiction over them. To do so would violate the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution.”
February 21st, 2018 – Canadian TV ADDONS Court Case Overturned
In a turn of events, the Canadian court case is overturned after a Court of Appeal panel sides with the telecom companies. The appeals judge refutes many of the claims made by TV ADDONS in order to win the initial in junction. The panel gives several clues towards the legal stance of the copyright claims made in the TV ADDONS lawsuit.
The appeal had two matters to consider: whether the original judge made errors when he vacated the Anton Piller order and whether he made errors when he dismissed the application for an interlocutory injunction. The following conclusions were made:
The panel stated that the original Judge was wrong when he claimed that only 16 out of over 1500 addons (1%) contained content from unverified sources. The claim was based on the TV ADDONS Featured page, which had only 22 addons listed.
The original judge had been swayed when TV ADDON’s legal expert replicated the discovery of infringing content using Google. “While Google is an indiscriminate search engine that returns results based on relevance, as determined by an algorithm, infringing add-ons target predetermined infringing content in a manner that is user-friendly and reliable. The fact that a search result using an add-on can be replicated with Google is of little consequence. The content will always be found using Google or any other Internet search engine because they search the entire universe of all publicly available information. Using addons, however, takes one to the infringing content much more directly, effortlessly and safely.”
The appeals panel claimed that TV ADDONS was “clearly designed” to facilitate access to infringing material since it targets “those who want to circumvent the legal means of watching television programs and the related costs.”
Referencing the owner of TV ADDONS, the Judge said he could not claim to have no knowledge of the infringing content delivered by the add-ons distributed on this site, since they were purposefully curated prior to distribution. “The respondent cannot credibly assert that his participation is content neutral and that he was not negligent in failing to investigate, since at a minimum he selects and organizes the add-ons that find their way onto his website”.
On the similarities in the TV ADDONS lawsuit to set-top box sellers: “The service offered by the respondent through the TVAddons website is no different from the service offered through the set-top boxes. The means through which access is provided to infringing content is different (one relied on hardware while the other relied on a website), but they both provided unauthorized access to copyrighted material without authorization of the copyright owners.”
On the Anton Pillar order, the appeals court found several contradictions to statements made by TV ADDONS:
- The order was explained in plain language and the right to remain silent was informed.
- TV ADDONS could refuse to answer questions other than those specified in the order.
- TV ADDONS was allowed to have counsel present, “with whom he consulted throughout the execution of the order.”
- The original judge was criticized for not taking into account that TV ADDONS “attempted to conceal crucial evidence and lied to the independent supervising solicitor regarding the whereabouts of that evidence.”
- On being forced to hand over the details of third-parties associated with the site: “A list of names was put to the respondent by the plaintiffs’ solicitors, but it was apparently done to expedite the questioning process. In any event, the respondent did not provide material information on the majority of the aliases put to him.”
With this in mind, the original ruling was overturned. Original domains were ordered to be held in trust by a third party and a $50,000 judgement awarded to TV ADDONS was returned back to the telecom companies.
March 1st, 2018 – Dish Network Files Rebuttal Against Dismissal Claim
On March 1st, Dish Network filed their rebuttal in the TV ADDONS court case, claiming that ZemTV and TV ADDONS should stand trial despite never having stepped foot in Texas before.
From the rebuttal: “Defendants used TV Addons to target residents of the United States and it was designed to appeal to United States television consumers. The TV Addons Home page stated ‘Whether you’re in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, India or anywhere else, Kodi Addons will work great for you!’,” … “The United States was Defendants’ largest market with approximately 34% of all TV Addons traffic coming from users located in the United States, which was three times the traffic from the second largest market.”
Dish pointed out that the Court has personal jurisdiction under the “Calder effects test,” because defendants knew that the focal point of the harm from their action was in the US, and because their actions connect the defendants to the US in a meaningful way.
Dish Network asks the court to proceed with the TV ADDONS lawsuit.
April 23rd, 2018 – Court Denies TV ADDONS Lawsuit Dismissal
A Texas judge officially denied TV ADDONS of their request to dismiss the lawsuit against them. The court order was signed on April 19th, 2018 and there is no information given as to how the judge came to his decision.
The decision means that the lawsuit will proceed.
May 18th, 2018 – TV ADDONS Denies Copyright Infringement Claims in Texas Court
TV ADDONS officially denied claims made by Dish Network in the Texas court. They deny that TV ADDONS had the “ability to supervise and control” the alleged infringing activity of ZemTV, as Dish stated, and also refutes the claims that he received a “direct financial benefit” and “refused to take any action” to stop the infringement.
Most of the answers to the claims filed by Dish Network are minimal, but the answers also provide more details that people in the Kodi community might be interested in hearing.
In the original complaint, TV ADDONS’ operator stands accused of “contributory / inducing copyright infringement,” but his lawyer points out that these are two different claims with separate thresholds which can’t be combined. “Contributory infringement and inducing infringement are two distinct causes of action and cannot be combined when pled. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 10(b) requires separate counts for separate claims,” Sweet writes.
In addition, the defendent’s lawyer states, “Plaintiff is not entitled to statutory damages, including attorney’s fees and costs because registration is required for foreign works to gain the procedural benefits of a prima facie presumption of the validity of a copyright, statutory damages, and attorney’s fees..,” the defense writes.
June 13th, 2018 – TV Addons Visited By Bell, Rogers & Videotron Again
Nearly a year to the data, the owner of TV ADDONS was visited by representatives from Bell, Rogers, and Videotron again. This time, the companies had a court order that allowed them to search for and mark down items of value which could be sold in order to pay off the debt owed to them in the case so far.
Worth noting, none of the claims in the lawsuit have been tested in court yet. Nevertheless, Bell, Rogers, and Videotron appear to be putting the pressure on in preparation of a payout in the near future.
June 21st, 2018 – TV Addons Founder Resigns From Server Admin Position
This morning, the founder of TV Addons resigned from his position as administrator of servers and website. Adam no longer retains administrative access to any servers or sensitive information.
After being under pressure for over a year and being involved in two separate court cases, this decision was made so that Adam’s access would not become a liability for the rest of the platform and users.
According to the official TV Addons website, “an automated script was used to randomly select his replacement amongst most trusted senior staff. At time of selection, the automated script also delivered relevent passwords which the new administrator then changed so that only he would know them. Only the staff member selected knows that he is our new platform administrator.”
Continuing on, it states “The rest of use are not aware of which one of us was selected, the process was designed that way. In a few weeks time, our new administrator will likely surface publicly, and it is possible that we might get some upgrades to our website shortly after.”
There is no other word on who the new administrator may be. To our knowledge, no other “staff members” were active on social media in recent months. Adam is staying on to provide marketing and advertising support and the news article states that profits will be shared with him to assist with legal proceedings.
July 10th, 2018 – TV Addons Responds to Requests By DISH Network
Yesterday in court, TV Addons officially responded to the allegations for request made by DISH Network. This brings the US court case and TV Addons lawsuit into its discovery phase, where important details are put into public record.
Below is a summary of some of the more interesting questions and responses. Court Listener provides the entire response in PDF format if you are interested in reading it.
1. Dish Network requested from TV Addons the “name, address and account number of each of your financial accounts, including but not limited to banks, PayPal, Amazon payments, Western Union, and cryptocurrency exchange”.
In response: “Defendent objects on the grounds the Interrogatory seeks information that is irrelevant to whether the Defendent infringed the Plantiff’s copyrights, but rather whether the action is “worth” the Plantiff’s effort.
2. Dish requested documents showing every payment, donation, or transfer of currency related to tvaddons.ag and offshoregit.com from February 17, 2015 through June 4, 2017.
In response, the Defendent stated that no documents exist as it is impossible to attribute any of the donations as being made because of the inclusion of the ZemTV add-on.
In response, TV Addons supplied his tax returns which shows the following taxable income amounts:
- 2015: $177,638 CAD = $133,475.10 US
- 2016: $117,875 CAD = $88,494.74 US
- 2017: $14,017 = $10,534.70
The original TV Addons website was seized by Bell Canada on June 9th, which may explain the lack of income in 2017 because all ads and revenue would have went offline with the site.
4. Dish Network requested that Lackman “identify each person or entity involved in the creation, development, update, ownership, promotion, or distribution of the web pages and support forums for the ZemTV Addon, including the name, website, and last known street address, email address, and telephone number, and a description of their involvement.
In response, TV Addons replied that the “defendant has nothing to do with the creation, development, update, ownership, promotion, or distribution of the web pages and support forums for the ZemTV add-on. Durrani (creator of ZemTV) used the same platform available to all developers who posted their add-ons on the sites.
[TV Addons] employed no staff. To the extent volunteers were included in the administration of the sites, Defendant is unaware of any assisting with the creation, development, update, ownership, promotion, or distribution of the web pages and support forums for the ZemTV add-on.
July 16th – TV Addons Sanctioned For Failing to Disclose Financial Information
The Texas Court where the Dish Network vs TV Addons lawsuit is currently playing out, has sanctioned the owner of TV Addons for failing to disclose specific financial information to the court. The issue is related to our previous lawsuit update above, where TV Addons refused to provide specific financial details on the grounds that they could not be linked to any alleged copyright infringement activities.
After the lawyers were unable to come to an agreement, Texas District Court Judge Vanessa Gilmore rules that financial information should be handed over. The official statement reads:
Within five dates of this Order, Adam Lackman must provide:
a. All documents identifying his revenues, costs, and gross profits relating to Tvaddons.ag or Offshoregit.com from February 17, 2015 through June 4, 2017.
b. All documents identifying each payment, donation, or other transfer of currency, cryptocurrency, or thing of value made to…
You can already see the taxable income amounts for 2015, 2016, and 2017 provided by TV Addons lawyer above. Now, it appears that a more detailed snapshot of the business is about to be released.
In addition, TV Addons must share all documents on ZemTV and other infringing addons including ARY Digital, B4U Movies, B4U Music, Dunya TV, Express Entertainment, Geo TV, Hurn TV, Movies OK, Times Now, and Zoom.
For failing to provide the requested information in a timely manner, TV Addons must pay $2,835 to cover legal expenses arising from this latest TV Addons lawsuit update.
If you want to learn more about the TV ADDONS court case, thinking and reasoning from the TV ADDONS owner himself, and other Kodi information, check out some of our related links covering these court cases.
At the beginning of March, the owner of TV ADDONS went live with several Kodi Youtube personalities to answer questions and provide details about the TV ADDONS lawsuit and court cases. You can read our full summary of the Youtube interviews that we put together.
We have compiled an FAQ regarding TV ADDONS to help squash rumours in the Kodi community.