Early June was a dark time for those that use Kodi addons to to enjoy content. Dish Network filed a lawsuit in the United States, prompting many addons to shut down and potential spare themselves a legal battle. The popular repo, TVAddons, also disappeared. Many presumed that the creator had decided to shut down in the face of legal action in the United States. However, TVAddons has made a return and the story of their sudden disappearance at the beginning of June is just starting to come to light.
It turns out that a Canadian legal complaint filed by some of the biggest telecom companies in Canada was the cause of TVAddons shutdown. Bell, Videotron, Group TVA, and Rogers all filed a complaint in federal court aimed at Adam Lackman, the creator of TVAddons. In the complaint, the plaintiffs argue that Lackman violated copyright law by developing, hosting, distributing, or promoting Kodi addons that people could use to access pirated content. Some of the most popular Kodi addons including Exodus, 1Channel, and SportsDevil are also listed in the complaint. This was filed on June 2nd. On June 9th, a federal court issued an injunction that saw Lackman’s access to anything related to TVAddons taken away. TVAddons was put in the care of a court-appointed counsel. All of this was done ex parte which means Lackman had no idea it was happening and would have been unable to properly defend himself.
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In addition, the court granted an Anton Piller order. This allows plaintiffs permission to access a defendant’s residence with no-notice in order to preserve evidence. On June 12th, that order was carried out. The CBC has a great article with Lackman that details how absolutely insane this entire process was but let me boil it down for you… A group of men, including lawyers from some of Canada’s largest telecommunications companies, entered Lackman’s home at 8AM on June 12th. They searched his apartment and confiscated evidence. They also interrogated him and denied him access to electronic devices for 16 hours. This amount of time would prove to be important as the court order only allowed them to be on the premises from 8AM until 8PM. As a result, the judge declared the Anton Piller order “null and void.” However, Lackman won’t be getting his stuff back right away. An appeal was filed and, until that appeal is heard, Lackman’s belongings will remain out of his possession.
The poor execution of the Anton Piller order may prove to be the downfall of the plaintiffs as they did not seem to gain any favor with the presiding judge. His rebuke of their actions was scathing and he acknowledged that Lackman has a legitimate defense. After all, TVAddons simply helps people access addons that are developed by others. Lackman does not create the addons or host the content they provide.
For now, TVAddons is back. Of course, some addons within the repo have shut down voluntarily to avoid legal action. However, the battle is just beginning for Lackman. His case could set precedent for copyright law in Canada and determine the fate of one of the most popular Kodi addon repositories. For now, Lackman has legal bills piling up as he takes on some of the biggest companies in Canada who have all banded together to take down TVAddons. If you wish to help support Lackman in his legal battle, you can visit his Indiegogo page here. The result of this case will definitely shape the future of copyright cases in Canada and perhaps even beyond the borders of the Great White North.