UK Kodi Clampdown

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UK Kodi Clampdown
Added: 10-03-2017 03:19

New legal moves blocking football, a prosecution and additional arrests in the UK aim to disrupt copyright-infringing sports streams.

It was announced on Thursday that the Premier League has secured a court order to help block video streams of football matches via Kodi set-top boxes. Currently the league can only target individual streams which could quickly and easily resurface using different links. However, the new order gives the Premier League the legal means to blanket block the computer servers used to power individual illegal streams. A spokesman said it could now target pirates in a 'precise manner' adding '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'.

The news comes only days after a man from Hartlepool was fined £250,000 for selling “pre-loaded” boxes for £1,000 each to pubs and clubs so they could illegally screen Premier League football and pay-per-view events. The man, Malcolm Mayes, also received a 10-month prison sentence at Monday’s hearing, which was suspended for one year, after pleading guilty to selling the boxes. The court heard that Mayes targeted the venues through adverts in a national magazine which claimed his devices were “100% legal”. Trading Standards manager Ian Harrison said: "In pleading guilty, he has accepted it is illegal to sell a device that allows the free viewing of pay-to-view television."

In February, police arrested a further five people accused of selling fully loaded Kodi boxes signalling a growing crackdown on sellers of these devices. Specialist officers mounted raids across England targeting those advertising the sale of the boxes in the north west.

Meanwhile the UK's Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is involved in a review trying to put a stop to the sale and use of the devices. Discussing its consultation about Kodi Boxes, the IPO said: "Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) boxes (also known as set-top boxes, Android TV boxes or Kodi boxes) are small plug and play media servers, originally designed to allow consumers to stream legitimate content (locally stored or legal online content)."

"Despite the legitimate use of this equipment, software is widely available (illicit Kodi extensions being the best known) which connect the boxes to illegal content through streaming websites, file lockers and BitTorrent trackers." The IPO claims that the sale of the "fully loaded" Kodi boxes has triggered a sharp increase in use from consumers breaking copyright laws.

They added: "Broadcasters and content owners have voiced concerns that, although a range of existing legislation applies to the sale and use of these devices (as well as the provision of illicit content streams), the legal framework does not provide sufficient tools to tackle this growing threat."

What is Kodi? Kodi is a free media player that can run on any computer, smartphone, tablet or set-top box, allowing users to stream films and TV programmes over the internet. In the UK the software itself is not illegal, nor is it illegal to sell devices with Kodi pre-installed on them. However, selling devices which come pre-loaded with third party software that allow users to stream pirated content is illegal.

Whilst most commentators do not believe that users will be targeted directly, Matt Cope from the UK Intellectual Property Office stated that "It is a criminal offence to knowingly receive subscription broadcasts without paying for them, and there are also provisions restricting the manufacture, sale or use of equipment designed to circumvent the encryption that protects many TV broadcasts."


UK Kodi Clampdown

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