It's no secret that police and copyright holders have been cracking down on the people selling so-called 'fully loaded Kodi boxes' i.e. pre-configured set-top boxes that use dodgy Kodi add-ons to allow free access to premium content. One such seller has now also pleaded guilty to charges of money laundering.
TorrentFreak reports that back in June 2015, police and Trading Standards officers raided a number of sellers of Kodi boxes, and one seller, the owner of GeekyKit.com, announced that his physical shops would be shutting down.
"As you may be aware we were visited yesterday by Sky [television] in conjunction with Trading Standards. Whilst we continue to investigate our position the stores will remain closed and support will remain suspended. Our sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused."
Geeky Kit shops in Middlesbrough and Billingham were them raided by police, and proprietor Julian Allen was arrested. However, Allen insisted that he could not be held responsible if customers ended using his products to access content illegally.
"We do not control the content that is accessible on the internet via the product that we sell. We are currently working with Trading Standards to ensure that we can sell our products whilst adhering to UK copyright laws."
Which sounds like the world's worst excuse, given what his shops actually look like (image via Gazette Live:)
It's almost as bad as, "that wasn't be, it was my twin brother". It doesn't take a forensics genius to work out what's going on here.
Back in January Mr Allen ended up in Teeside Crown Court charged with laundering £135,173, which was allegedly generated through the sales of dodgy Kodi boxes over a 30-month period. A week-long trial was supposed to begin today, but that has since been scrapped after the 40-year old defendant pleaded guilty to charges of using or acquiring criminal property.
Gazette Live reports that a proceeds crime hearing has been set for next year, and until sentencing can be carried out on 20th October Mr Allen has been released on an unconditional bail.
If you're trying to make a living selling the 'fully loaded' Kodi boxes, you should be aware that your days are probably numbered. There's nothing inherently illegal about Kodi itself, or the boxes it's often sold on, but as soon as you use any of the third-party add-ons to gain free access to premium or copyrighted material the law turns against you.
It's less likely to matter for individuals doing it themselves, but anyone getting paid to set this up for the less tech-savvy people of the world should be aware that they're probably already on someone's radar. [Gazette Live via Torrent Freak]