A 53-year old illegal set-top box seller having 40 illegal Kodi-style set-top boxes pre-installed with add-ons was arrested by the Westminster City Council in England, reported Liam Doyle of the Daily Star.
The Raid By The The Council
The raid on a Wesminister property took place on July 12 when the boxes were sold online for £100 per unit. These set-top boxes with add-ons are illegal to sell. People use them to run illegal streams of sports, movies and TV shows. The box is used to watch copyrighted content without having to license or buy the subscription of the content.
This is not the first time that UK authorities have arrested someone for selling illegal set-top boxes. “Four men and one woman, from Bolton, Bootle, Cheadle, Manchester, and Rhyl were also arrested for selling selling “fully-loaded” Kodi media streaming boxes, reported James Temperton of the Wired in February this year.
At the time of Manchester arrests, the illegal sellers had already made £250,000 from the sales of the set-top boxes, revealed FACT, a U.K-based intellectual property crime organization. Another Derbyshire Council collaborated with FACT to curtail the sales of illegal streaming devices. ”
“People may think there is nothing wrong with having one of these devices and streaming premium pay-for channels for free, such as live sports. However, this is illegal and you would be breaking the law,” said FACT CEO Kieron Sharp while talking to Daily Star.
Anti-Piracy Initiatives Elsewhere
We reported a few months ago that there are different companies leading the initiative against illegal Kodi set-top boxes and add-ons. Although major arrests were reported in the UK, organizations like Premier League, Amazon, eBay, and the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) are leading a similar anti-piracy initiative in the US.
While there’s been a lot of controversy around the use of Kodi, it is a perfectly legitimate software. The problem arises when people use the software along with illegal add-ons to access copyrighted content. People download these add-ons using websites such as TVAddons and Exodus.
4.9 million adults in the UK use modified IPTV (Internet Protocol television) devices, revealed YouGov, an international Internet-based market research firm headquartered in the UK. A rise in the use of these devices was also reported in the US and Canada. 68.6% households have Kodi devices having unofficial Add-ons to access unlicensed content, reported Sandvine Broadband Networks.
The rise in popularity of the IPTV devices that people use by coupling with illegal add-ons shows that subscription-based content websites will play a proactive role in shutting down these websites/services. These illegal services directly reduce the business of subscription-based content providers.
Kodi in itself is not the root of unlicensed content streaming, as observed by Sandvine Broadband Networks. However, using illegal add-ons that let you access copyrighted content without having to pay the subscription/licensing fee is prohibited by law. People do use Kodi VPNs to hide their digital footprints or stay anonymous, but using illegal add-ons and set-top boxes is obviously going to get you in trouble. Stay away from the bad guys.