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Selling ‘fully loaded’ Kodi boxes to pubs lands man £250k fine


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A man selling “fully-loaded” Kodi set-top boxes for a one-time fee of £1,000 has been given a suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay a £250,000 fine.

Malcolm Mayes, 65, from Hartlepool sold the boxes to pubs and clubs around the UK, enabling them to show live sports and pay per view events to customers (via BBC).

Public venues like pubs and clubs are subject to much larger fees to broadcast subscription television events, far beyond what consumers are asked to pay.

Sky charges pubs £1,400 a month to show Sky Sports events, while BT Sport costs pubs £395 a month.

Related: Could buying a Kodi box soon be illegal?

The Kodi media centre software is not illegal, but the third-party add-ons that enable copyrighted content to be screened freely are illegal.

Mr Mayes, who has over £1m in assets, had advertised the boxes were “100% legal” in national magazines, prompting many establishments to sign up believing they were on the right side of the law.

After pleading guilty to charges of breaching the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act, he was order to pay £170,000 costs and an £80,000 Proceeds of Crime Order.

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.

"Mr Mayes should not be seen as a Robin Hood-type character. In selling these devices he wasn't stealing from the rich to help the poor. He was stealing to make himself richer."

Do you think Sky and BT asks too much of pubs for the right to show live sport? Share your thoughts below.

Aaron Lowe

March 7, 2017, 8:11 am

At the time he started selling these Kodi boxes it probably wasn't illegal. So, I doubt he went into this business as a criminal venture. What he is guilty of is not being aware that the law changed (a crime even judges can be guilty of).


March 7, 2017, 8:47 am

Buy a Greek Freesat box - that has been agreed to be legal


March 7, 2017, 9:15 am

complete nonsense. he would be fully aware that the software installed was in complete breach of copyright. pubs pay over £1k per month for sky, and suddenly he gives them a one off box that gives them sky, BT and any others all free forever?! of course it was legal - not!

Aaron Lowe

March 7, 2017, 11:47 am

If you read this article you'll see it wasn't always illegal.



March 7, 2017, 12:17 pm

I'm willing to bet a crispy fiver that the media coverage of this farce alone has enabled the "hey, free stuff" crowd to cost the industry more than £250k.

The ruin of one guy won't even be noticed, every kid in the world with half a brain can do this with a £50 petrol station smartphone.

Aaron Lowe

March 7, 2017, 5:13 pm

The article linked in the article above suggests it must have been legal at some point.


March 7, 2017, 5:41 pm

no it doesn't. the article states selling an Android box on it's own is perfectly fine - but selling one preloaded with software to access copyright material isn't. He was advertising them as having access to PPV TV, therefore he knew exactly what he was selling.


March 7, 2017, 8:33 pm

Were you selling fully-loaded Kodi boxes by any chance?

Aaron Lowe

March 7, 2017, 11:41 pm

The title of the article is "Could buying a fully loaded Kodi box soon be illegal?"

That implies that at the time of writing the article, a fully loaded Kodi box was not illegal.

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