A 'Former Pirate' Has Been Fined $19.5 Million

Published on 28 Feb 2022

Kodi, cyberhack, cybersecurity

As per TorrentFreak reports, Adam Lackman, the self-described "former pirate" behind the Kodi add-on repository TVAddons, has offered to pay a fine of $19.5 million ($25 million CAD) to a group of Canadian telecommunications giants for copyright violation.

According to a copy of the judgment (PDF), Lackman, who is premised in Montreal, was involved "directly or indirectly" in "the development, hosting, distribution, or promotion of Kodi add-ons that provide users with unauthorized access" to copyrighted content.

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The History

Bell Canada, TVA, Videotron, and Rogers initially filed the lawsuit against Lackman in 2017 — which included a raid on Lackman's home — as part of a broader crackdown on pirated content. 

Simultaneously, Lackman was tried to sue in the United States for copyright infringement by satellite television provider Dish. In 2018, he agreed with the company requiring TVAddons to prioritize Dish's copyright complaints.

"The lawsuit is now concluded, and I can resume my life," Lackman wrote in a tweet. 

"It was not the outcome I desired, but it was a result nonetheless."

Although TVAddons had a sizable fan base at one point — around 40 million monthly active users in 2017 — many objected to some of the company's more dubious practices. As Kinkead Tech (and several Reddit users) point out, TVAddons would occasionally auto-install the Indigo add-on, which has blocked the usage of certain additional add-ons and repositories and launched an intrusive ad for a VPN service upon Kodi startup. 

The Terms of The Lawsuit

According to the lawsuit, Lackman is also forbidden from "assisting in the development, operation, maintenance, updating, hosting, dispersion, or publicity of Infringing Add-ons," including Indigo and FreeTelly.

Lackman stated in a press conference with Vice in 2018 that he intended TVAddons to be a center for legal content — he said that it would contain apps that scrape content from free but legal platforms such as PlutoTV. But besides this, Lackman admitted to Vice that he did not entirely police the add-ons uploaded to his site, which invariably resulted in pirated user-generated content.

People have mistakenly believed the software is unlawful since it's common to come across hacked Fire Sticks with Kodi pre-installed. Apps like TVAddons have contributed to this perception by hosting stolen material.

A Drop in Google Searches

Even Google has stopped auto-filling "Kodi" searches. A drop in Google searches for "Kodi" is being attributed to incidents like these and the European Union's prohibition on the sale of streaming devices containing pirated software, according to statistics from Comparitech.

Plex, another descendent of Xbox Media Center, is a new vessel for Kodi pirates who may have abandoned ships due to rising legal pressure.


Featured image: Kodi


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