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Thread: TVAddons Returns, But in Ugly War With Canadian Telcos Over Kodi Addons

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    TVAddons Returns, But in Ugly War With Canadian Telcos Over Kodi Addons

    TVAddons Returns, But in Ugly War With Canadian Telcos Over Kodi Addons


    Adam Lackman, the man behind TVAddons


    After Dish Network filed a lawsuit against TVAddons in Texas, several high-profile Kodi addons took the decision to shut down. Soon after, TVAddons itself went offline.

    In the weeks that followed, several TVAddons-related domains were signed over (1,2) to a Canadian law firm, a mysterious situation that didn’t dovetail well with the US-based legal action.

    TorrentFreak can now reveal that the shutdown of TVAddons had nothing to do with the US action and everything to do with a separate lawsuit filed in Canada.

    The complaint against TVAddons

    Two months ago on June 2, 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 Court against Montreal resident, Adam Lackman, the man behind TVAddons.

    The 18-page complaint details the plaintiffs’ case against Lackman, claiming that he 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 key claim is that Lackman achieved this by developing, hosting, distributing or promoting Kodi add-ons.
    A total of 18 major add-ons are detailed in the complaint including 1Channel, Exodus, Phoenix, Stream All The Sources, SportsDevil, cCloudTV and Alluc, to name a few. Also under the spotlight is the ‘FreeTelly’ custom Kodi build distributed by TVAddons alongside its Kodi configuration tool, Indigo.

    “[The defendant] has made the [TV shows] available to the public by telecommunication in a way that allows members of the public to have access to them from a place and at a time individually chosen by them…consequently infringing the Plaintiffs’ copyright…in contravention of sections 2.4(1.1), 3(1)(f) and 27(1) of the Copyright Act,” the complaint reads.

    The complaint alleges that Lackman “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.

    “Approximately 40 million unique users located around the world are actively using Infringing Addons hosted by TVAddons every month, and approximately 900,000 Canadian households use Infringing Add-ons to access television content. The amount of users of Infringing add-ons hosted TVAddons is constantly increasing,” the complaint adds.

    To limit the harm allegedly caused by TVAddons, the complaint asked for interim, interlocutory, and permanent injunctions restraining Lackman and associates from developing, promoting or distributing any of the allegedly infringing add-ons or software. On top, the plaintiffs requested punitive and exemplary damages, plus costs.

    The interim injunction and Anton Piller Order

    Following the filing of the complaint, on June 9 the Federal Court handed down a time-limited interim injunction against Lackman which restrained him from various activities in respect of TVAddons. The process took place ex parte, meaning in secret, without Lackman being able to mount a defense.

    The Court also authorized a bailiff and computer forensics experts to take control of Internet domains including TVAddons.ag and Offshoregit.com plus social media and hosting provider accounts for a period of 14 days. These were transferred to Daniel Drapeau at DrapeauLex, an independent court-appointed supervising counsel.

    The order also contained an Anton Piller order, a civil search warrant that grants plaintiffs no-notice permission to enter a defendant’s premises in order to secure and copy evidence to support their case, before it can be destroyed or tampered with.

    The order covered not only data related to the TVAddons platform, such as operating and financial details, revenues, and banking information, but everything in Lackman’s possession.

    The Court ordered the telecoms companies to inform Lackman that the case against him is a civil proceeding and that he could deny entry to his property if he wished. However, that option would put him in breach of the order and would place him at risk of being fined or even imprisoned. Catch 22 springs to mind.

    The Court did, however, put limits on the number of people that could be present during the execution of the Anton Piller order (ostensibly to avoid intimidation) and ordered the plaintiffs to deposit CAD$50,000 with the Court, in case the order was improperly executed. That decision would later prove an important one.

    The search and interrogation of TVAddons’ operator

    On June 12, the order was executed and Lackman’s premises were searched for more than 16 hours. For nine hours he was interrogated and effectively denied his right to remain silent since non-cooperation with an Anton Piller order amounts to contempt of court. The Court’s stated aim of not intimidating Lackman failed.

    The TVAddons operator informs TorrentFreak that he heard a disturbance in the hallway outside and spotted several men hiding on the other side of the door. Fearing for his life, Lackman called the police and when they arrived he opened the door. At this point, the police were told by those in attendance to leave, despite Lackman’s protests.

    Once inside, Lackman was told he had an hour to find a lawyer, but couldn’t use any electronic device to get one. Throughout the entire day, Lackman says he was reminded by the plaintiffs’ lawyer that he could be held in contempt of court and jailed, even though he was always cooperating.

    “I had to sit there and not leave their sight. I was denied access to medication,” Lackman told TorrentFreak. “I had a doctor’s appointment I was forced to miss. I wasn’t even allowed to call and cancel.”

    In papers later filed with the court by Lackman’s team, the Anton Piller order was described as a “bombe atomique” since TVAddons had never been served with so much as a copyright takedown notice in advance of this action.

    The Anton Piller controversy

    Anton Piller orders are only valid when passing a three-step test: when there is a strong prima facie case against the respondent, the damage – potential or actual – is serious for the applicant, and when there is a real possibility that evidence could be destroyed.

    For Bell Canada, Bell ExpressVu, Bell Media, Videotron, Groupe TVA, Rogers Communications and Rogers Media, serious problems emerged on at least two of these points after the execution of the order.

    For example, TVAddons carried more than 1,500 add-ons yet only 1% of those add-ons were considered to be infringing, a tiny number in the overall picture. Then there was the not insignificant problem with the exchange that took place during the hearing to obtain the order, during which Lackman was not present.

    Clearly, the securing of existing evidence wasn’t the number one priority.


    What Happened?

    On June 12th, Adam Lackman was the subject of an Anton Pillar order. Anton Pillar orders are meant to preserve evidence in civil lawsuits. During the execution of the order, an independent (neutral) counsel overseeing the lawsuit, performed a search and seizure of Adam’s premises that lasted a total of about sixteen hours. His personal computer and other belongings were seized, including domain names and social media accounts that weren’t even related to TV ADDONS.
    He was interrogated for a period of nine grueling hours, during which he was denied the right to remain silent. They told him that if he didn’t answer every question asked, he would be in contempt of court – which is punishable by imprisonment. It should be noted that everything seized is being held by the independent counsel on behalf of the court, not the plaintiffs. No one but the independent counsel has access to anything.
    What Happened Next?

    Less than a week after initially meeting his lawyers, Adam had to present his defense in civil court. The plaintiffs had over two years to prepare for this date. This court date was meant to decide whether the Anton Pillar order was in fact lawful, as well as whether there should be an injunction barring TV ADDONS from being online until the outcome of the entire lawsuit is determined.
    The Law

    TV ADDONS is an unofficial Kodi add-on development site, it does not host nor link to any type of protected content. It was contended that out of the 1500+ add-ons indexed on TV ADDONS, less than 1% were what the plaintiffs considered to be allegedly “infringing.” Kodi add-ons scrape content sources that are readily available online, sort of like specialized search engines. Add-on developers do not control the content the add-ons are scraping, they are simply a conduit for accessing content through streaming web sites, the same way your web browser would. The Canadian telecom cartel never sent us a takedown notice, something that is required by law.
    The Judgement

    Justice was served. The court found the Anton Pillar to be unlawful and the interrogation to have been in violation of Adam’s rights. The independent counsel was ordered to return everything that was seized, and no one was to retain copies of anything. In fact, the Court found the conduct of the plaintiffs highly objectionable. The injunction was denied, TV ADDONS would be permitted to continue operations. The $50,000 deposit which the plaintiffs had to provide the court in order to file the lawsuit was to be forfeited to TV ADDONS, although we had already accumulated over $75,000 in legal expenses. Nonetheless, it was a massive win against the draconian, anti-competitive conduct of Canada’s telecom cartels. We urge everyone to carefully read the entire judgment in order to fully understand what we’re up against.
    The Bad News

    Somehow the plaintiffs managed to convince the appeals court to grant a stay-of-execution (temporary pause of the judgment pending appeal) on the return of my property, domain names and social media accounts. This was surprising because there is currently no injunction preventing TV ADDONS from operating. How could TV ADDONS be expected to operate without our domain names and social media accounts? Furthermore, how could we be expected to mount a proper legal defense against goliath without the financial support of our community? It’s nothing less than outright censorship.
    Censorship

    They managed to have our domain names retained by the independent counsel as part of the Anton Pillar order, an order which is supposed to be meant to preserve evidence, nothing more. There’s nothing preventing us from operating, but without our domain names, we’ll have to start at square one. The domain names are still ours, but we don’t have access to them. They managed to manipulate the law in order to destroy our community, by the time we get the domain names back they will be worthless.
    What’s Next?

    At this point, there is no choice but to fight. Abandoning the cause would mean Adam could have a default judgment against him, for a ridiculous amount of money. TV ADDONS has a very strong case. It all comes down to whether we will have the financial resources necessary to mount our defense and go to trial. We won’t have ad revenue coming in, since losing our domain names means that we’ll lose the majority of our traffic for quite some time into the future.
    And in the USA?

    The lawsuit brought forth by Dish Network is just beginning, but we’ve retained legal counsel and we have confidence that we will prevail. TV ADDONS has always worked within the framework of the law, there’s no reason for us to lose, assuming we can afford to pay our lawyers.
    Support the Free and Open Internet

    We’re hoping that others will be as concerned as us about big companies manipulating the law in order to shut down what they see as competition. We desperately need your help in financially supporting our legal defense, we cannot do it alone. We’ve ran up a legal bill of over $100,000 to date. We’re David, and they are four Goliaths with practically unlimited resources. If we lose, it will mean that new case law is made, case law that could mean increased censorship of the internet.
    We have launched a fundraising campaign and would appreciate anything you can contribute, every little bit counts.

    Who’s Defending Us?

    In Canada, TV ADDONS is being represented by Éva Richard, Hilal Ayoubi, and Karim Renno.

    In the United Stated, TV ADDONS is being represented by Erin Russell and Jason Sweet.Spread the Word

    We’re running a contest to help incentivize people to spread the word about our web site being up on a new domain.
    ---:..Gratitude is the best attitude..:--

    If it isn't broke, don't try fixin it..!!!


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  2. Thanks sundayme, Putski, bc420, benney, Mr Hanky and 1 others thanked for this post
  3. #2
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    Karma is a bitch.
    Rmbr how he ripped off tons of people....
    I do not test
    I will not post sekret info.
    pay attention and all is yours.

  4. Thanks sundayme, trin/tuco, benney, Mr Hanky thanked for this post
  5. #3
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    And bullied many kodi build repo creators.

  6. Thanks sundayme, trin/tuco, benney thanked for this post
  7. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by damien View Post
    Karma is a bitch.
    Rmbr how he ripped off tons of people....
    what I thought
    I know I remember that name and I just can't put a finger on it

  8. Thanks sundayme thanked for this post
  9. #5
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    Armageddon I believe was his nick
    I do not test
    I will not post sekret info.
    pay attention and all is yours.

  10. Thanks benney, sundayme, Mr Hanky, 041joy thanked for this post
  11. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by damien View Post
    Armageddon I believe was his nick
    DSSGUY comes to mind.

  12. Thanks benney, 041joy thanked for this post
  13. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by damien View Post
    Karma is a bitch.
    Rmbr how he ripped off tons of people....
    I found this???????????????
    pre-dawn raids in Los Angeles county area have
    resulted in the arrest of Blacklist - the infamous Pansat coder - and
    his accomplice, Adam Lackman - aka Mr. Leaker.

  14. Thanks benney, trin/tuco thanked for this post

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