In April, a group of movie companies filed a lawsuit against the operators of various websites that promoted and distributed the Showbox app.
Showbox and similarly named clones are used by millions of people. These apps enable users to stream movies via torrents and direct sources, using a Netflix-style interface.
The tools are a thorn in the side of movie companies, including those behind “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” “London Has Fallen,” and “Hunter Killer.” In a lawsuit filed at a U.S. District Court in Hawaii, the companies pointed out that Showbox facilitates massive piracy.
“Plaintiffs bring this action to stop the massive piracy of their motion pictures brought on by the software application Show Box,” the 58-page complaint read.
“The Defendants misleadingly promote the Show Box app as a legitimate means for viewing content to the public, who eagerly install the Show Box app to watch copyright protected content, thereby leading to profit for the Defendants,” the companies added.
The movie outfits went after several defendants suspected of having ties to one or more Showbox-related sites. This includes a Pakistani man named Qazi Muhammad Zarlish, who allegedly operated ‘latestshowboxapp.com.’
While it can be tricky to get a judgment against an operator of a foreign pirate site, the movie companies can claim a win this week. They negotiated a consent judgment in which Zarlish agrees to stop any infringing activities. In addition, a money judgment is awarded in the amount of $150,000, to cover the costs, fees and damages.
Whether the Pakistani man has this kind of money at his disposal remains to be seen. However, his website that offered Showbox is no longer online. And in addition to the money, the judgment also includes a permanent injunction that prevents him from promoting or distributing other infringing apps.
These include, but are not limited to the “Show Box app, Popcorn Time, CotoMovies (Bobby Movie Box), MediaBox HD (The Movie DB), Cinemabox, Moviebox, Terrarrium, Mobdro and software applications affiliated with following piracy sources: YIFY; YTS; RARBG; TORRENTZ2; NYAA.SI; LIMETORRENTS; ZOOQLE; EZTV; and TORRENTDOWNLOADS.”
The paperwork shows that Qazi Muhammad Zarlish represented himself. He explained that the Showbox APK file that was made available on the site came from the third-party site showbox.fun. Interestingly, he assumed that it was perfectly legal.
“[The defendant] believed the Show Box app was a legitimate application similar to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video based upon the descriptions of Show Box app at the websites showbox.fun and show-box.pro,” the consent judgment reads.
Since this matter was resolved in a consent judgment, the Court didn’t review the case on its merits. However, it’s clear that the defendant made a rather expensive mistake, as the settlement shows.
A copy of the stipulated consent order between Qazi Muhammad Zarlish and Hunter Killer Productions, Inc., TBV Productions, LLC, Venice PI, LLC, Bodyguard Productions, Inc., and LHF Productions, Inc. is available here (pdf).