A major UK police operation has resulted in the seizure of more than 40 illegal Android TV-based streaming boxes and the arrest of a 53-year-old man in London, as the sale of so-called ‘fully loaded’ Kodi boxes continues to be cracked down on by law enforcement agencies.
The raid was executed on July 12 at an undisclosed address in London’s W2 postcode, Westminster Trading Standards (WTS) has confirmed. Investigations are ongoing against the man, who may face criminal charges under both the Fraud Act and the Copyright, Design and Patents Act.
The WTS worked alongside the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA), Government Agency Intelligence Network (GAIN), and the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) to carry out the operation.
Related: What is Kodi and is Kodi legal?
According to a statement issued by WTS, the seized Android TV boxes were being sold via a “popular online retail website” for under £100 and were being promoted for their ability to stream copyrighted content, including sports, TV shows, and movies.
The WTS also said that the investigation found that these so-called ‘Kodi boxes’ failed to adhere to UK electrical safety standards, potentially putting users at risk.
Kieron Sharp, CEO of leading UK intellectual property protection organisation FACT, commented:
“This arrest is another step forward in disrupting the sale of illegal streaming devices.
“You 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 are breaking the law.”
Councillor Antonia Cox, Westminster Cabinet Member for Public Protection and Licensing, added:
“These illegal media players may look harmless but they operate outside all the regular safety checks, and could pose a risk of electrocution or fire.”
Of course, as we’ve said before, there’s actually no such thing as a ‘Kodi box’ – be it ‘fully loaded’ or otherwise.
The ‘Kodi boxes’ widely referred to by the mainstream media are in fact simply third-party Android TV boxes that come with the (perfectly legal) Kodi open-source software pre-installed.
Where things get murky is when sellers also equip these boxes with piracy-enabling add-ons – in essence ‘fully loading’ them with copyright protected content.
Related: Best legal Kodi add-ons
To date, there have been a number of similarly high-profile crackdowns on these devices and their sellers, including multiple UK arrests.
The sale of ‘fully loaded’ Android TV boxes has also been banned by many online retailers, most notably Amazon, eBay and Facebook.