The UK's Intellectual Property Office has released some advice for anyone with an 'illicit streaming device', set top boxes which also get referred to a 'Kodi Boxes' and 'Android TV Boxes'. Basically, as you might expect, the IPO wants you to stop using your box for copyright infringing streaming and wipe it clean.
The main focus of the new advice is trying to emphasise that its important for copyright holders to get paid for their work, since they don't profit from pirate streams in any way. IPO also mentions electrical hazards from cheap boxes and dodgy fire supplies, plus the issue of child welfare - which the government just loves to fall back on when it needs an excuse for something.
While dodgy sellers and media outlets refer to the boxes as 'Kodi boxes', the officials in government and the entertainment industry have adopted the moniker 'illicit streaming devices'. That doesn't demonise an innocent, and legal, piece of software, and is probably the most accurate description of what these boxes are designed to do.
Some people, like Kodi box sellers, insist that these boxes are a 'grey area'. Despite police previously insisting that this is not the case, the IPO's attempting to put the record straight. Illicit streaming is bad (mmkay), and illegal. That's why its report has gone into great detail explaining what is legal and what is not.
IPO notes that the boxes themselves are completely legal (provided they meet minimum safety regulations), provided you only use them for watching legitimate content. As soon as you start watching 'illicit streams' (watching content without the rightholder's permission), often facilitated by software add-ons, then you're breaking the law. For people unsure whether they're breaking the law, IPO says that if they're able to watch content they'd normally pay for free, then it's illegal.
The report also details many of the popular terms used by ISD sellers, in an attempt to mask what the boxes are really for. Terms like the aforementioned Kodi box and Android box monikers, plus the likes of 'fully-loaded', 'jailbroken', and 'Plug and Play. 'Subscription Gift', on the other hand, often refers to premium IPTV streams that people have to pay for, but are no less illegal.
If you have any doubts, then it's worth checking out the advice in its entirety. There's not much to say, though. If you're streaming content without paying, or you're paying very little compared to the full price, then you're breaking the law. It doesn't matter if you have a dedicated streaming box for that, or if you're using your phone and web browser.
Obviously we'd all like to be able to afford everything, since premium entertainment is really expensive, but if you are obtaining it by dubious means don't try and kid yourself that it's all good in the eyes of the law. [Gov.uk via TorrentFreak]