Wait, I know what you’re going to say..
Of course it’s not a grey area! If you’re selling a “Fully Loaded Kodi Box” then it’s going to be illegal, end of.
Well no, not necessarily, and I’ll tell you why. For most of us, “Fully Loaded” means that you’re going to get a Kodi Android TV box with the Exodus plugin or something similar. It means that you’ll be able to get Sky Sports, the Premiership, golf, rugby, F1 and stacks of movies. This, if you’re a shop selling the box, is definitely going to be illegal. You’re selling something that – out of the box – circumvents the Sky copyright and the copy protection systems for movies too.
However, for some sellers “Fully Loaded” is a phrase that’ll get them more clicks and more sales. Sometimes you’ll receive the box and find a lot of apps installed such as BBC iPlayer, FilmOn, Netflix, ITV HUB, YouTube, My5 and so on. It’s “loaded” full of apps to watch TV and movies, but all those are completely legal and above board.
For most sellers, offering an Android TV box with a standard install of Kodi is enough. If the user then decides to Google for a way to install a plugin which will let you watch movies and TV, it’s that customer who’s at blame – not the seller.
However, a businessman from Middlesbrough could be the first person in the country to be prosecuted for selling these boxes. Brian Thompson, who runs “Cut Price Tomo TV” has pleaded not guilty and says that he’s not doing anything wrong. He seems to be telling the press that the boxes are available “from all over the place” and it’s the “downloading of software to watch channels” that is causing the problem. He also states that…
Selling boxes that are fully loaded with software is apparently illegal but I’m not doing that. All the boxes I am selling come without that software.
I’m not totally sure whether he’s confused about what “software” is causing the problem or whether he’s trying to dodge the charge. If you take a look at his Facebook page it’s pretty clear that he’s offering to install Kodi on Amazon Fire TV sticks for a fee and has a huge advert outside his shop showing how easy it is to put “add ons” onto Kodi..
After a closer look there’s also a £20 charge for “fitting”….
There’s also Facebook posts like this, which perhaps won’t help his case…
Come on now, let’s be honest. After a quick look at this operation it’s clear from the promoted Virgin Media internet connections and the Sky Internet connections (no mention of Sky satellite or Virgin TV) that he’s pushing a fast internet feed for the TV streaming. It’s also clear that he’s installing Kodi on boxes for a fee. He’s also offering “advice” on how to install plugins, which is something you can find on the internet with a very quick Google.
Add to that the offer of kids TV, sports, movies and entertainment for free. Check this advert below and the mention of an “online upgrade” and “advice on how to use” plus the mention of sports and movies on offer. Basically put, he’s treading a very fine and dangerous line.
The truth is, these boxes are legal if there’s just a plain, unaltered copy of Kodi installed. There’s Android TV boxes all over the web and most will come with Kodi pre-installed.
If, however, that box comes complete with Kodi Video Add-ons which let you watch Sky Sports and BT Sports over your web connection, then it’s the seller who’s breaking the law.
If you install those plugins on a cleanly-supplied Kodi installation, then you are breaking the law.
The problem is that it’s going to become a real headache for the content producers in the same way that ad-blocking has killed our monthly web revenue.
It’s not going to stop. The streams will still continue, despite them being stopped in a “whack a mole” style by the various agencies. The boxes will continue to be sold. The instructions on the internet will continue to be indexed and people will continue to watch them because, quite simply, people are becoming tired of paying this much for movies and sports with a fast internet connection..