In recent years it has become much easier to stream movies and TV-shows over the Internet.
Legal services such as Netflix and HBO are flourishing, but there’s also a darker side to this streaming epidemic. Millions of people are streaming from unauthorized sources, often paired with perfectly legal streaming platforms and devices.
Hollywood insiders have dubbed this trend “Piracy 3.0” are actively working with stakeholders to address the threat. One of the companies rightsholders are working with is Roku, known for its easy-to-use media players.
Earlier this year Roku was harshly confronted with this new piracy crackdown when a Mexican court ordered local retailers to take its media player off the shelves. While this legal battle isn’t over yet, it was clear to Roku that misuse of its platform wasn’t without consequences.
While Roku never permitted any infringing content, it appears that the company has recently made some adjustments to better deal with the problem, or at least clarify its stance.
Pirate content generally doesn’t show up in the official Roku Channel Store but is directly loaded onto the device through third-party “private” channels. A few weeks ago, Roku renamed these “private” channels to “non-certified” channels, while making it very clear that copyright infringement is not allowed.
A “WARNING!” message that pops up during the installation of these third-party channels stresses that Roku has no control over the content. In addition, the company notes that these channels may be removed if it links to copyright infringing content.
“By continuing, you acknowledge you are accessing a non-certified channel that may include content that is offensive or inappropriate for some audiences,” Roku’s warning reads.
“Moreover, if Roku determines that this channel violates copyright, contains illegal content, or otherwise violates Roku’s terms and conditions, then ROKU MAY REMOVE THIS CHANNEL WITHOUT PRIOR NOTICE.”
TorrentFreak reached out to Roku to find out how they plan to enforce this policy, but we have yet to hear back. According to Cord Cutters News, several piracy channels have already been removed recently, with other developers opting to leave the platform.
Roku’s General Counsel Steve Kay previously informed us that the company is taking the piracy problem seriously. Together with various stakeholders, they are working hard to address the problem.
“We actively work to prevent third-parties from using our platform to distribute copyright infringing content. Moreover, we have been actively working with other industry stakeholders on a wide range of anti-piracy initiatives,” Kay said.
Roku is not the only platform dealing with the piracy epidemic, the popular media player software Kodi is in the same boat. Kodi has also taken an active anti-piracy stance but they’re not banning any add-ons. They believe it would be pointless due to the open source nature of their software.