Kodi — a software that turns any computer, smartphone or tablet into a digital set-top box, is being targeted by UK’s leading anti-piracy group. While the platform in itself I not illegal; developers have managed to produce third-party add-ons that provide free access to pirated content.
Chief executive of the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), Keiron Sharp said that those who use illegal Kodi add-ons are committing criminal offences. “What we’ve been looking at in conjunction with many of our clients and members are the different levels of crime being committed,” he told The Independent. “There’s the manufacture and importation of devices, and then the distribution and selling of those. We’re also looking at the people who are providing the apps and add-ons. And then we’ll also be looking at, at some point, the end user. The reason for end users to come into this is that they are committing criminal offences,” he added.
European Court of Justice (ECJ) back in April ruled that using copyrighted content from the Kodi Box without the content producer’s permission is illegal. The verdict has also opened doors for prosecution of Kodi Box sellers. “When we’re working with the police against a company that’s selling IPTV boxes or illicit streaming devices on a large scale, they have records of who they’ve sold them to,” Sharp said. “It’s part of the work that we do with the police that we have to look at the whole business there, and start investigating those that have been buying these devices. At the moment, where that will lead we don’t know. We have a number of cases coming before the courts in terms of those people who have been providing, selling and distributing illicit streaming devices. It’s something for the very near future, when we’ll consider whether we go any further than that, in terms of customers,” he concluded.
The Digital Economy Act was introduced in UK earlier this year. This raised the maximum sentence for online copyright infringement from two to 10 years....