February 15, 2018
Popular add-on ZemTV had shut down several months ago, and developer Shani was set to stand trial for copyright infringement after Dish Network filed a lawsuit. Shani was responsible for creating ZemTV, an add-on that was distributed via TVAddons for broadcasting Dish Network’s content illegally to users.
Dish Network targeted multiple add-on developers in the Kodi scene which included ZemTV. The lawsuit against TVaddons was dismissed after both parties came into a settlement but ZemTV developer Shahjahan Durrani, also known as Shani remained defenseless. The developer initially planned to defend himself but was unable to gather the funds needed to contest the lawsuit which led to a default judgment in Dish Network’s favor being granted.
US District Court Judge Vanessa Gilmore revealed in her statement “Defendant developed ZemTV and then distributed and supported it through [..TVAddons..], resulting in his unauthorized retransmission of the Protected Channels and causing injury to Plaintiff throughout the United States. Therefore, Defendant is liable for direct copyright infringement.”
Shani was initially liable to pay $150,000 per infringed work, but the judge has fined one-third of that, taking the total fine to $650,000 for 13 instances of copyright infringement. The judgment against Shani was inevitable as there was no defense. According to the developer, Dish did not lose any money due to the add-on’s usage in the past.
It is unknown if Dish will recoup the damages with a high amount of legal fees involved. With Shani being unable to pay the legal fees to contest the case, it is unlikely that he will be able to pay the $650,000 fine. With add-on developers being taken to court, pirate activity on Kodi is at an all-time low.