Kodi Legal Crackdown — 5 Arrests, ‘Piracy Hunters’ Vow WarBy Lyn Atwood / March 1, 2017 / Tags: Kodi
Kodi’s legal woes have escalated, with arrests for selling “fully-loaded” Kodi boxes and vows by copyright theft avengers to keep the pressure on.
It’s unsettling news for Kodi fans, as legal authorities and so-called “piracy hunters” crack down on using the media player to stream copyrighted content.
In England and Wales, five people have been arrested for allegedly selling modified Kodi boxes. The boxes were being sold “fully-loaded” with apps to stream TV from a number of popular channels and services for free.
The arrests came following copyright complaints by Premier League, Sky, BT Sport, and Virgin Media. The altered Kodi boxes gave users free access to the channels’ content.
Premier League and the UK Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), an intellectual property crime organization that worked on the case, are committed to getting even tougher on illegal streaming on Kodi.
“Set-top boxes loaded with apps and add-ons allowing access to copyright infringing material are very much illegal and anyone involved in selling these boxes should not be surprised to receive a knock on the door,” said Kieron Sharp, FACT Director.
Are Kodi Boxes Illegal?
Set-top boxes that can be used with Kodi are legal. Any box that runs the Android operating system works with Kodi, so it’s a good thing.
The problem comes when boxes are altered to include add-ons (Kodi-speak for apps) that let users watch illegal streams of TV, sports, or movies.
‘Piracy’ Add-ons On Kodi — No Box Needed
It’s third-party add-ons that lie at the heart of Kodi’s legal issues. Since Kodi is open-source, anyone with the know-how can develop and offer add-ons. The most popular Kodi add-ons are those that let users watch all kinds of premium TV, live sports, and movies for free.
The Kodi Foundation takes a strong verbal stance against third-party piracy add-ons and excludes them from the official add-on repository. But this does little to keep users from installing them on Kodi. There’s no special box needed to do this. Anyone can install illegal streaming add-ons on Kodi, on any computer or device.
Outlook Uncertain For Kodi Fans
Kodi has a large, rapidly growing, and very loyal user base. While legal questions have long swirled, no one had stepped up to take any action, and the Kodi community felt a sense of security. Until now.
The move doesn’t bode well for the media player and its fans. Here in the US, Amazon recently removed some popular Kodi boxes from its store.
Going after sellers of altered Kodi boxes is a different game than going after Kodi itself, or Kodi users. But any step in that direction — and certainly the recent arrests are — is disconcerting for those who love Kodi. I’m one of those people.
Kodi Users, Take Precaution
As a Kodi user, I’m careful to always use Kodi with a VPN. A VPN works by encrypting your internet connection. This keeps your identity hidden, so piracy hunters and authorities can’t tell who you are, or what you’re watching. It’s an easy way to stay safe and private on Kodi.