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Could buying a fully loaded Kodi box soon be illegal?



Selling 'fully loaded' Kodi boxes that can access subscription content for free could soon become illegal as a court case concerning the equipment is set to get under way.

Brian Thompson of Middlesbrough is accused of selling equipment that "facilitated the circumvention" of copyright protection rules.

The equipment mentioned refers to so-called 'fully loaded' boxes which use the increasingly popular Kodi open-source media centre software which brings together videos, music, games, and photos onto one platform.

Formerly known as Xbox Media Centre (XBMC) the software has been developed so it can now be used on several devices, including the Amazon Fire TV Stick and Apple TV, without those companies' official support.

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By pre-loading set-top boxes with the software, some sellers are able to offer ready-to-use streaming devices, which customers can modify using third-party add-ons to gain access to pirated content or subscription-based services for free.

Sellers that provide these Kodi boxes with the third-party software pre-installed are said to be providing 'fully loaded' boxes.

In the upcoming court case, brought by Middlesbrough Council, Thompson is accused of providing this type of equipment to his customers, and has not entered a plea.

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Speaking to the Gazette Live, he stated that he doesn't consider the boxes to be illegal and intends to challenge the charges, which follow an 18 month investigation.

Kodi developers have made clear on numerous occasions that they do not support piracy extensions or add-ons, and say they maintain a "neutral stance on what users do with their own software".

The impending court case will be the first time legal scrutiny will be applied to an application such as Kodi in the UK.

A date for the trial is expected to be set today.

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Let us know your thoughts on the upcoming case in the comments.

Chris B

September 27, 2016, 12:27 pm

The boxes themselves are not illegal (otherwise, anything that can run Kodi would be illegal) - it's whether selling the boxes "ready to go" to access streams that you would have to pay for to get them legitimately is illegal or not.

This seems to be a distinction that The Gazette fails to understand.

They also don't understand that to turn a vanilla Kodi install into a "fully loaded" install takes around 5 minutes, and no technical skill.

cheese king

September 27, 2016, 2:26 pm

The Answer is no obviously....This seems pretty simple to me, the box contains software which gives direct access to pirated material, not a web link, not a torrent but an app which directly links to actually pirated movies, not sure what app this is but it will likely be something like SHOWBOX which is illegal, end off, slap him in irons.

Pete Sykes

September 27, 2016, 8:15 pm

You have no idea what your talking about and sound stupid so shut up...Any broadcast software can steal anything on the internet so people that sell equipment to news stations should go to jail...you are ignorant on the facts and need to educate yourself before you speak in the public on matters you know nothing of.

Pete Sykes

September 27, 2016, 8:16 pm

Most common used pirating device on planet earth...a VCR :-)


September 28, 2016, 11:32 pm

Hope so


September 30, 2016, 12:51 pm

i that way a screwdriver of any tool could be deemed the same

its not the tool but the act that violates the law

cheese king

September 30, 2016, 1:29 pm

obviously the hardware and OS isnt ilegal, nobody is suggesting that, its the "package" that is ilegal. If torrent sites can be shut down by law then this software will also be breaking the same laws as the pluggins promote and facilitate the use and access to copyrighted material. This is ilegal, it isnt rocket science numpties.

Pete Sykes

October 1, 2016, 11:21 pm

EVERY PIECE of broadcasting software every news station on planet earth uses does this...so what do you suggest we do about it?


December 8, 2016, 10:47 pm

is not the boxes (simple android in a box same as your smart phone) or the software (same as windows media center) the issue here is:

Only if you load the box with addons that allow you to circumvent copyright material and you sell those boxes

Mainly because you are making a profit with that action, but you you sell the box with Kody and no addon, nothing illegal


February 9, 2017, 1:19 pm

Buying a gun is not illegal, buying the bullets for the gun is not illegal. Shooting someone with that gun is, I would say selling the box with the software is OK. Its the end user that chooses to use the software is breaking the law!


February 18, 2017, 4:15 pm

It's okay to release classified information but not copyrighted information.

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