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Maker of Dragon Box to shut down and pay $14.5 million to settle copyright lawsuit

Maker of Dragon Box to shut down and pay $14.5 million to settle copyright lawsuit
Dragon Media was accused of facilitating the piracy of films such as 20th Century Fox's "Deadpool." (Joe Lederer / Associated Press)

The sellers of Dragon Box, a streaming device allegedly used for pirating movies and TV shows, have lost their legal battle with Netflix, Amazon and the major Hollywood studios, according to court documents filed Monday.

Carlsbad, Calif.-based Dragon Media, which sells set-top boxes that allow people to stream video from the internet to their TVs, will shut down and pay $14.5 million to settle a lawsuit brought by a coalition of streaming services and studios, according to a proposed judgment and permanent injunction filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

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The defendants, who include Dragon Media president and owner Paul Christoforo and Dragon Box distributor Jeff Williams, will shut down operations within five days of the entry of the settlement, the document said.

The studios and streaming services sued Dragon Media last January, saying the company induced copyright theft of a multitude of titles including “Stranger Things” and “Deadpool.” Dragon Media urged customers to use the Dragon Box streaming device for watching copyrighted movies and TV shows, the studios said. Marketing materials told users to “watch your favorites anytime for free” and “get rid of your premium channels,” according to the complaint.

The case is part of a broader crackdown on the use of a popular software called Kodi, an open-source program that developers can modify with apps and add-ons that allow users to stream video from the web. Though Kodi itself is legal and has legitimate uses, many add-ons stream unauthorized content, to the chagrin of anti-piracy advocates who say the technology enables mass copyright infringement.

The settlement marks the latest legal triumph for the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, a coalition of international studios, television networks and online-video giants, which launched in 2017 in an effort to fight global piracy. Netflix, Amazon, Columbia Pictures, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox Film, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. were plaintiffs in the Dragon Box case.

The alliance in September won a similar case against Georgia-based TickBox TV, which agreed to pay $25 million in damages to the studios and discontinue all piracy-related activities.

“Today’s legal victory is another significant and positive step in reducing online piracy and supporting creators around the world,” Richard VanOrnum, a spokesman for the studio alliance, said in a statement.

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