Users of the popular Kodi TV-streaming service have been warned that a change in the law means they could face up to 10 years in jail.
Under the Digital Economy Bill – which received Royal Assent on April 28th – digital piracy has been put on the same level as offline IP crime.
This means that people pirating online content could (in theory) face up to 10 years in prison, including for using Kodi boxes.
But it’s likely to be sellers of the boxes who face such long sentences, according to the UK’s FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft).
But home users are still unlikely to be prosecuted, as investigations by FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft), will focus on dealers – although there is a chance users could be ‘swept up in a criminal investigation’, FACT says.
Kieron Sharp of FACT says, ‘At some point, someone who is illegally streaming is going to get caught. Although it’s not our wish to go after the end user.
‘The new Digital Economy Act should send a strong and clear message to the public that being involved in online intellectual property crime can have serious consequences and those behind illegal streaming sites could face up to ten years in prison.
‘Whilst end users are not our primary target, they may get swept up in one of our operations and become part of the whole criminal investigation, which could lead to prosecution alongside the suppliers, retailers and importers.’
Using Kodi software (which can be installed on smartphones or PCs) remains legal – it’s just installing add-ons to allow piracy which is the problem.
‘Fully loaded’ boxes come with add-ons which allow piracy of TV shows and premium football fixtures, and selling these breaches copyright laws, as does using them.
Amazon recently banned the sale of the boxes, saying in a statement, ‘Products offered for sale on Amazon should not promote, suggest the facilitation of, or actively enable the infringement of or unauthorised access to digital media or other protected content.
‘Any streaming media player or other device that violates this policy is prohibited from sale on Amazon.’