TV ADDONS is being sued by Canada’s biggest telecom providers: Bell, Videotron, Rogers and TVA. They never sent us a takedown notice, despite being required by law. We never hosted nor direct linked to any type of protected content. Less than 1% of the total Kodi add-ons we indexed were even accused of being “infringing.” Nonetheless, they seek to destroy our community, and don’t care who’s rights they violate in the process. They attempted to get us shut down while a civil lawsuit takes place, but justice prevailed and TV ADDONS won big in court. We thought everything was fine, until they managed to manipulate the law to keep us down anyway…
We encourage you to read independent news coverage at the following sources:
- Montreal Gazette
- Michael Geist
- The Register
- Huffington Post
- National Post
- National Post
- Private Internet Access
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Spread the Word
It would really help if everyone could share our new site address with all your friends, family and coworkers regularly over social media. Please be sure to follow our new Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages as well.