You can't walk into a shop and purchase an Android TV box pre-configured with piracy-enabling software, like those dodgy Kodi add-ons the entertainment industry is panicking over. Those tend to get shut down. So eBay and social media sites are popular ways of tracking one down. But even that's not safe for the sellers, with two eBay sellers managing to collect fines of £18,000 and £8,000 respectively.
According to the Federation Against Copyright Theft, which has been tackling the problem of Illicit Streaming Devices (ISDs, colloquially known as Kodi boxes), claims that the two sellers have agreed to pay the money to the Premier League for having facilitated piracy and selling boxes that were pre-configured to let people watch premium football matches without paying the rights holders.
Nayanesh Patel from Harrow allegedly sold the boxes on eBay and Facebook before getting caught. Because of that he's agreed to pay £18,000, disable his website, remove all advertising, and stop selling any new boxes. A second unnamed individual was caught selling premium IPTV subscriptions, which let people watch Premier League games illegally. He's agreed to pay £8,000 and stop selling access to streams.
Kevin Plumb, Premier League Director of Legal Services, said:
"This case shows there are serious consequences for sellers of pre-loaded boxes and is a warning for anyone who thinks they might get away with this type of activity.
The Premier League is currently engaged in a comprehensive copyright protection programme that includes targeting and taking action against sellers of pre-loaded devices, and any ISPs or hosts that facilitate the broadcast of pirated Premier League content."
While it's no surprise that online sellers are being targeted, given the insane popularity of illegal streaming boxes in this country, it's interesting to note that these two were seemingly targeted by FACT directly with no mention of police intervention. Why this is the case isn't clear, but it might be a more preferable option for both sides. There have been a number of high profile cases where Kodi box sellers have been prosecuted, but like all legal proceedings they proved themselves to be long drawn-out affairs.
This way sellers who know they're guilty get to skip all the problems of mounting a legal defence in court, and criminal charges, while FACT gets results faster and more easily than they might through the police. Though problems do arise if the organisation has been taking matters into its own hands, and demanding money from people in exchange for not getting the police involved. It's not clear whether that did happen, but that's copyright troll behaviour and it's not a precedent that should be set. [TorrentFreak]