piracy flag
Kodi is once again in the spotlight as major Hollywood players and streaming giants fight back against piracy. iStock

The 'Kodi box' crackdown has stepped up dramatically as some of the world's biggest movie studios, TV distributors and streaming giants have begun fighting back against copyright infringement.

Numerous major Hollywood studios banded together with streaming giants Netflix and Amazon for a joint lawsuit targeting Kodi-powered streaming devices sold by a US company called TickBox.

While far from the first example of Kodi-related litigation, the status of those bringing forth the lawsuit - many of whom are members of the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) anti-piracy coalition - could pave the way for further high-profile copyright infringement cases.

In the complaint, filed in a California federal court on 13 October, Universal, Columbia, Disney, 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Warner Bros., Amazon and Netflix accused TickBox of promoting and enabling copyright infringement with its TickBox TV devices.

The group are requesting damages reaching $150,000 per instance of infringement, which is likely to take any financial penalties against TickBox into the millions. The documentation (via The Hollywood Reporter) reads:

"TickBox promotes the use of TickBox TV for overwhelmingly, if not exclusively, infringing purposes, and that is how its customers use TickBox TV. TickBox advertises TickBox TV as a substitute for authorized and legitimate distribution channels such as cable television or video-on-demand services like Amazon Prime and Netflix.

"The TickBox TV instructional video urges the customer to use the 'Select Your Theme' button on the start-up menu for downloading addons. The 'Themes' are curated collections of popular addons that link to unauthorized streams of motion pictures and television shows.

"Some of the most popular addons currently distributed — which are available through TickBox TV — are titled 'Elysium,' 'Bob,' and 'Covenant'."

Kodi crackdown goes global

While the full scope and possible consequences of the landmark Hollywood lawsuit is still yet to be seen, Kodi box sellers could soon come under legal fire from another media company-led collaboration, but this time on an international scale.

On 18 October, Disney, BBC, Premier League, HBO, Fox, NBA and other major players in the broadcasting industry announced the formation of the Coalition Against Piracy (CAP) in an effort to stem the sale of Illicit Streaming Devices (ICDs), including those powered by Kodi software.

The coalition will focus on disrupting the operations of "criminal syndicates" that sell media players pre-loaded with pirate streaming add-ons in Asia.

The region has also been pinpointed as one of the main sources of Kodi box-type devices which are sold to other countries around the world.

While the Kodi brand has become synonymous with modern piracy, it is worth noting that the software itself is entirely legal. Unfortunately, due to its open-source nature, third-party developers have flocked to the ecosystem, including those creating app extensions that offer less-than-legitimate streams of TV, movies and live sport.

Recent estimates suggest that over one million set-top boxes designed to stream pirated content have been sold in the UK in the last two years.