A man who made £371,000 selling ‘fully-loaded’ Kodi boxes from his home has been handed a suspended prison sentence.
28-year-old Daniel David Brown of Llansamlet, Wales, supplied the streaming players through Facebook, pre-loading them with third-party add-ons that allowed customers to access pirated content.
Brown sold the boxes, which he sourced from China, through his Maiz Box Limited business, making £371,000 between June 2014 and March 2016.
Related: Is Kodi legal?
Swansea Crown Court heard that broadcaster BSkyB complained to South Wales Police about breach of copyright, prompting the police to launch a joint investigation with Swansea Council.
As Wales Online reports, Judge Peter Heywood described Brown as “industrious but misguided in some ways” before sentencing him to 18 months in prison, suspended for 24 months.
Brown is also required to complete 180 hours of unpaid work, and has agreed to pay Swansea Coundil £19,996.08 towards the cost of his prosecution, at £800 per month.
As a result of this agreement, no orders were made under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
While the Kodi software and the Android streaming players on which the software is installed are not technically illegal, the addition of third-party add-ons that provide access to copyrighted material is.
Boxes that come with such add-ons preinstalled – the type which Brown was selling – are known as ‘fully-loaded’ boxes, and provide access to not just films and TV, but also pay-to-view channels such as Sky Sports.
Lee Reynolds, prosecuting, said it was impossible to calculate how much money rights-holders had lost as a result of people using Brown’s ‘full-loaded’ boxes.
While Brown was found guilty, his sentence could have been far worse, considering the maximum possible sentence for online copyright infringement offences was increased to 10 years earlier this year.
Kodi itself recently condemned those that provide ‘fully-loaded’ Kodi boxes, in a lengthy blog post.
The group wrote: “Due to recent legal action against websites and repositories promoting add-ons that use pirated (stolen) media content, many have shut-down their services.
“This is driving a large increase in users complaining in our forums and on social media about their “Kodi Box” no longer working.”
“Team Kodi (the unpaid volunteers who create Kodi and manage the Kodi name/brand for love not money) have never manufactured a “Kodi Box” and we do not supply media content.
“People who have been selling “Fully Loaded” devices on Amazon, eBay, Facebook, etc. or provide “IPTV Streaming” services with impossibly $cheap subscriptions to improbably $large selections of Movies, TV shows, Live Sports, etc. are not affiliated with the Kodi project. They are criminals who profit from piracy.”
Recent months have seen Kodi and the illegal add-ons come under increased scrutiny, with Facebook joining the likes of Amazon and eBay in banning the sale of ‘fully loaded’ Kodi boxes from its online marketplace in early May.
That followed the European Court of Justice (ECJ) effectively banning the sale of such boxes by way of a lengthy ruling in April.
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