Up to a million households in the UK are thought to have purchased illicit streaming devices known widely as ‘Kodi boxes’.
The devices have previously been sold via Amazon and eBay – and it’s also possible to ‘build your own’ using commercially available products such as Amazon Firesticks.
But are they legal or illegal? The government has published guidelines for what is – and isn’t – legal to do with ‘illicit streaming devices’.
Watching pirated content such as live streams of Premier League matches, or series such as Game of Thrones is definitely illegal, according to the Intellectual Property Office.
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But merely owning a streaming device isn’t illegal, and it’s fine to watch free to air content – they become illegal when they’re adapted to stream illicit content (ie with add-ons).
The Government says, ‘These devices are legal when used to watch legitimate, free to air, content. They become illegal once they are adapted to stream illicit content, for example TV programmes, films and subscription sports channels without paying the appropriate subscriptions.
‘Adapting a streaming device to view illicit content usually requires loading of software add-ons or extensions. Illicit streaming can also be facilitated by using certain apps on smartphones and tablets.’
The full guidelines are below – although it’s worth noting that (so far) prosecutions have targeted people dealing in the devices, not using them.