XMBC / KODI Android TV Box Sellers Raided By Police for copyright infringement
Sellers of Android boxes loaded with software enabling the free viewing of movies, TV shows and live sports (like Sky TV) have been raided this week by UK authorities.
Trading Standards officers, police and representatives from Sky TV carried out raids in several locations, causing other sellers to quickly reconsider the tone of their marketing efforts.
Apple TV boxes, Android set-top boxes and even the lowly Raspberry PI can run software such as Kodi (previously XBMC) alongside third-party addons to provide all of the above at virtually zero cost.
And the provision of these third-party addons are what the broadcasters and rights holders are acting against.
While selling any of the above devices alone is entirely legal, over the past couple of years online markets such as eBay and Amazon have been flooded with “fully loaded” boxes (Android-based in particular) that enable free viewing of anything from first run movies to live sports.
Surprisingly, many vendors have been happy to publicly advertise that fact, with many apparently under the impression that if they don’t provide the illegal content themselves then they aren’t liable. But under UK Spanish and European law selling of any equipment that provides pay tv without the requires subscription is illegal.
Earlier this week Trading Standards officers and police carried out raids on sellers of Android boxes setup to receive unauthorized content. One seller, said “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.”
A source who asked to remain anonymous also said that raids were also carried out at home addresses. In those cases officers reportedly seized computer equipment and mobile phones. A 38-year-old man was arrested under the Copyright Designs and Patent Act.
Complying with UK, European and international legislation should be a fairly straightforward process if sellers want to play it safe, but that will probably mean never mentioning the “special features” of these boxes in a sales pitch ever again.
It could also mean relying on users to install their own third-party addons from scratch. It’s a simple enough process for those with patience but something unlikely to appeal to Joe Public who increasingly wants a simple plug-and-play device.