Roku has essentially been banned in Mexico, following a legal showdown with the country’s largest television network.
Cable provider Cablevisión, a subsidiary of Televisa, asked courts to stop the sale of Roku devices after the company discovered hackers were using the product to offer pirated content from subscription-based channels like HBO and ESPN via private channels.
“Cablevisión cannot allow the content that it licenses from domestic and foreign companies to be illegally used,”Cablevisión spokeswoman Maria Eugenia Zurita said in a statement to Reuters. “We would also like Roku Inc to better supervise the use of its software so that it’s not used inappropriately.”
Roku is a digital media player that allows you to stream content from services like Netflix, Amazon Video, and Hulu straight to your smart TV. Creating a Roku channel is relatively easy, with detailed instructions available online via a simple Google search. While Roku bans the uploading of copyrighted content, it’s difficult to police private channels. Pirates can create private channels on the service that could not be found via a simple search and then sell access to users over WhatsApp, for example. According to Reuters, in some cases, the hackers even accepted cash transfers from customers, who would send money from convenience stores and then message photos of their receipts. The case is similar to the controversy surrounding Roku’s competitor Kodi, which has faced legal threats in the past over the alleged copyright infringement committed by its third-party apps. In June, Dish Network sued to shut down two of the service’s biggest third-party apps, ZemTV and Phoenix,
The case is similar to the controversy surrounding Roku’s competitor Kodi, which has faced legal threats in the past over the alleged copyright infringement committed by its third-party apps. In June, Dish Network sued to shut down two of the service’s biggest third-party apps, ZemTV and Phoenix, while an E.U. court ruled in May that using a streaming service like Roku or Kodi to view pirated content would be treated in the courts like downloading an illegal copy.
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Cablevisión’s original request to stop the importation and sale of Roku devices was granted last week by a judge in Mexico, but Roku won a suspension to that court order. The court decision on Wednesday upheld the original ban.
“Today’s decision is not the final word in this complex legal matter,” a Roku spokesperson told Reuters, “and it is not expected to prevent consumers from purchasing Roku products in Mexico at this time.”
H/T The Verge