Kodi users could face up to 10 YEARS in prison


Thousands of people using Kodi boxes to stream illegal content in the UK could face up to 10 years in prison, thanks to a controversial new law.

The Digital Economy Bill warns that people making and streaming films using torrents online will be committing a criminal offence.

The news comes shortly after Amazon banned ‘fully-loaded’ Kodi TV boxes and other pirate devices from its global online store.

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Thousands of people using Kodi boxes to stream illegal content could face up to 10 years in prison, thanks to a controversial new law 

Thousands of people using Kodi boxes to stream illegal content could face up to 10 years in prison, thanks to a controversial new law 

Thousands of people using Kodi boxes to stream illegal content could face up to 10 years in prison, thanks to a controversial new law 

IS KODI ILLEGAL? 

The European Court of Justice has ruled that ‘fully loaded’ Kodi boxes, which include plugins that can access pirated material, are illegal to sell and own.

Temporary files, like those created when media content is streamed, are technically exempt under copyright law.

People selling ‘fully loaded’ Kodi boxes exploited this legal loophole to provide illegal content.

But the court, which is the highest in the EU, found against a Dutch vendor, identified in court papers as Mr Willums, who sold fully loaded boxes over the internet.

And although the court recognised the equipment itself was not illegal, the way he had customised them was. 

The new ruling, issued yesterday, puts pirated streams on the same legal footing as illegal downloads.

The new bill criminalises minor copyright infringement, and proposes a maximum ten year sentence for people making the illegal content. 

The offence criminalises infringements where money hasn’t been paid or there is a ‘risk of loss’ – which means nearly anything published online without permission could attract a prison sentence.

For those downloading or streaming content, charges are unlikely to be pressed.

In a letter to the Open Rights Group, the Intellectual Property Office said: ‘It is important to note that the criminal offences apply to making material available to others, not to those just downloading material to their computers.

‘Anyone seeking to enforce their rights for the downloading of material would be unlikely to refer to this legislation.

‘Ten year sentences would only be applied in the most serious of criminal circumstances.’ 

Kodi is software that enables you to stream apps and on-demand services onto your TV.

Temporary files, like those created when media content is streamed, are technically exempt under copyright law.

People selling ‘fully loaded’ Kodi boxes exploited this legal loophole to provide illegal content.

But a ruling, issued last week by the EU’s highest court, puts pirated streams on the same legal footing as illegal downloads.

WHAT IS KODI TV?

Kodi is software that enables you to streams apps and on-demand services onto your TV. 

The software, which is legal, can even be downloaded onto an Amazon Fire stick.

Blank boxes can be bought from most major retailers for as little as £20 ($24), with the software uploaded afterwards.

Users can play BBC iPlayer, Youtube, Soundcloud and other free catch-up apps on the device.  

But many of the plug-ins the box offers are illegal.

Be wary if the box is pre-loaded to include subscription sport, TV and movies for free.

Commonly the ‘fully loaded’ boxes let users watch Premier League games or Sky Movies without paying a subscription fee.  

And although the court recognised the equipment itself was not illegal, the way they are customised was and was likely to be used to access copyrighted material.

Amazon previously banned ‘fully-loaded’ Kodi TV boxes and other pirate devices from its global online store earlier this month.

A policy update from the company stated that anyone selling products that ‘promote, facilitate or enable’ illegal access to copyrighted TV will now have their accounts suspended. 

Amazon has never permitted the sale of pirate TV players, but had previously done little to stop the sale of the devices on its site.

But the retailer said it would take ‘immediate’ action to stop the selling of Kodi boxes and similar devices.

‘It is your responsibility to source and sell products that do not promote, promise the facilitation of, or actively enable the infringement of or unauthorised access to digital media or other protected content,’ Amazon’s policy reads.

‘If you sell these products, we may immediately suspend or terminate your selling privileges and destroy inventory in our fulfilment centres without reimbursement.

Amazon has banned Kodi TV boxes (pictured) and other pirate devices from its online store. And the Premier League was granted a court order earlier this year to crack down on illegal football streaming

Amazon has banned Kodi TV boxes (pictured) and other pirate devices from its online store. And the Premier League was granted a court order earlier this year to crack down on illegal football streaming

Amazon has banned Kodi TV boxes (pictured) and other pirate devices from its online store. And the Premier League was granted a court order earlier this year to crack down on illegal football streaming

WHO IS USING KODI BOXES? 

Over 55s are six times more likely to watch pirated video using Kodi boxes than young adults, a recent survey found.

More than 25,000 adults in 30 countries were surveyed by digital security firm Irdeto.

The highest percentage of Kodi users in the UK were in the 35-44 and 55+ age groups, at 18 per cent each.

This is in stark contrast to the 3 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds using a Kodi box to stream pirated content.

18-24 year olds are more likely to use smartphones, tablets or laptops to access illegal content. 

‘In addition, if we determine that your account has been used to engage in fraud or other illegal activity, remittances and payments may be withheld or forfeited.’

The new stance came just weeks after the Premier League was granted a court order to crack down on web browsers that facilitate illegal football streaming.

The court order allows Premier League bosses to blanket block internet servers that are powering the illegal streams.

The league previously only had the power to block individual streams, which were easy for hosts to re-establish using a different link.

A spokesman said it could now target pirates in a ‘precise manner.’

‘For the first time this will enable the Premier League to disrupt and prevent the illegal streaming of our matches via IPTV, so-called Kodi, boxes,’ he added.

Football fans are being urged to buy a subscription to Sky Sports or BT, or watch matches at a venue that pays for access. 



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