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New Legislation to Criminalise Kodi Box Sellers Rejected

Written by Samuel O'Toole on 31 October 2016

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A Kodi Box or IPTV box is a device that utilises software to allow users to access media content.  The devices and software on their own are legal however, when the software is modified to be able to access pirate streams they become illegal as this amounts to copyright infringement.

The boxes are being loaded with the software to enable copyright infringement and are readily available for sale on online market places, a quick Google brings up over 300,000 results, it is this that  law makers in the UK are becoming increasingly concerned with.  Currently the police are prosecuting under the Fraud Act 2006, the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and the Serious Crime Act 2015.

Members of Parliament have been discussing UK copyright law with the view to amending the law to clamp down on sales of ‘loaded Kodi’ boxes.

However, the discussion in Parliament has not been limited to the amendment of the law, SNP’s Callum Kerr confessed that:  “Someone in [Parliament] recommended an IPTV box for my London flat because it is quite a cheap way of accessing content, but I did not follow that advice because I would not want to access any illegal content”.

Labour MP Kevin Brennan has explained that: “The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 has yet to be updated to reflect the new technology, It offers no effective remedies to copyright owners, who at present can rely on laws that are not particularly tailored to copyright infringement.”

The proposed amendment would have created a new offence of supplying devices primarily used to infringe copyright. At the moment the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 is concerned with physical copies of copyrighted work and the communication of the work to the public.

The proposed amendment has been rejected; this was due to the fact that the government already has a strategy for tackling intellectual property crime and has a focus on IPTV boxes. The City of London police have seized over 500 of the boxes earlier this year and a man has been arrested for fraud and intellectual property offences.

The amendment has been rejected however, the push to increase punishments for online copyright infringement from two years to ten years may still be in the works. 

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