Premier League puts VPNs and Kodi boxes in firing line

The Premier League has criticised proponents of Kodi and virtual private networks (VPNs), highlighting the potentially nefarious uses of the two technologies.

Fully loaded Kodi boxes have rarely been out of the news over the past year. The devices, which tend to come pre-loaded with Kodi − which is perfectly legal − and a selection of pirate addons, make it incredibly easy for anyone to stream films, TV shows and live sports illegally.

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VPNs, meanwhile, make it easy for users to access geo-restricted content from video streaming services while abroad. However, one of the main reasons they’re so popular is the fact that they can also protect your personal data from prying eyes.

Speaking at the July 2018 Westminster Media Forum, William Bush, the Premier League’s executive director, called for a crackdown on content explaining how to use Kodi and VPNs to illegally access copyrighted content.

“Promoting circumventions of the law should be discouraged and minimised,” he said.

“I’m not saying it can be eliminated, but to have websites which show you how to break the law, have social media supply content which shows you how to break the law, everything from Kodi boxes to how to get a VPN to circumvent paying subscriptions … they should be discouraged.”

Unfortunately for the Premier League, the genie’s been out of the bottle for quite some time. Kodi boxes are plug-and-play, and it’s simply unrealistic to expect advocates of VPNs to commend some of the core aspects of the technology, while failing to mention others.

“I think privacy is one of the most basic human rights,” John Mason, the founder of TheBestVPN.com, told Trusted Reviews.

“You can’t really circumvent paying subscriptions, can you? You can just move your location to another country and maybe get a cheaper price for a paid subscription.

“People like me, who preach the use of VPNs, don’t encourage people to break any laws, I help people to keep themselves private and secure,” he added.

Bush also said that voluntary codes for the creative industries sector “are a very good idea in principle”, but warned that the measure would only work if everyone took responsibility.

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“The Premier League, believes in as little enforcement as possible but as much as is needed,” he said, adding: “For regulation to be as little as possible you need each actor in the chain, each player on the stage, to take their bit of responsibility.

“Because otherwise you shunt responsibility down the chain until it’s just between the producer and the consumer and you create a battle which shouldn’t be there.”

Earlier this month, the High Court renewed an injunction allowing the Premier League to block live streams of games in the UK. Like it did last season, the order requires ISPs to set about blocking illegal streams in real time.

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