HUNDREDS of Kodi Box sellers have been shutdown, following a ruling by the EU Court of Justice back in April that made the sale of preloaded pirate streaming set-top boxes and add-ons illegal, an anti-piracy group has revealed.

Hundreds of Kodi Box sellers have been shut down since the EU ruling in April

Hundreds of Kodi Box sellers have been shut down since the EU ruling in April

Kodi Boxes – which have previously been described as an “epidemic” in the UK – are now a little harder to find.

According to the Protection Rights Entertainment Industry Netherlands (BREIN), around 200 individuals and companies selling so-called Kodi Boxes have been shut down since April.

The majority of these sellers were selling the pirate streaming devices through dedicated sites and major online shopping destinations, like Amazon, Facebook and eBay.

Each of these online retail sites has previous spoken-out against the illegal pirate devices.

Earlier this year, Amazon confirmed that sellers who violate its policy would see any inventory stored in Amazon fulfilment centres destroyed – with no reimbursement.

“Typically we send an explanatory letter with a cease and desist undertaking,” BREIN Chief Tim Kuik told blog TorrentFreak.

“Everyone gets the opportunity to settle. Most take it.”

But should the seller refuse to comply with the cease and desist, Kuik says “wilful infringement is assumed and this means no more warnings.

“Providers who settle with BREIN pay up to 10,000 euros. Those who continue can count on a multiple of that.

There’s a raw deal for those who think they’ll just get a warning. That time is now over

Tim Kuik, BREIN

“There’s a raw deal for those who think they’ll just get a warning. That time is now over.”

Back in April, a ruling by the EU Court of Justice – Europe’s highest court – made it easier for member states to stop the sale of preloaded media players and streaming add-ons.

The court ruled: “In the present case and having regard, in particular, to the content of the advertising of the multimedia player and to the fact that the main attraction of that player for potential purchasers is the pre-installation of the add-ons concerned, the Court finds that the purchaser of such a player accesses a free and unauthorised offer of protected works deliberately and in full knowledge of the circumstances.”

The following month, the Digital Economy Act received royal assent – and increased the maximum jail sentence for copyright infringement in the UK from two to three years.

The combination of this landmark ruling and the increase in sanctions for those who infringe copyright has led some developers to abandon Kodi.

In early June, Kodi fans saw one of the most popular destinations for third-party add-ons removed from the web.

TVAddons, which hosted a number of add-ons that enabled free streaming of copyright-protected material, was taken offline completely.

Even its Facebook page was unavailable, blog TorrentFreak reported.

TVAddons offers Kodi users the chance to access numerous illegal streams such as premium live sport and movie channels.

Kodi is a neutral, open-source media player that can be installed on a broad range of devices – from discount set-top boxes powered by Android, to known brands, like Amazon Fire TV Stick.

Kodi itself is completely legal.

Although, it’s worth checking to make sure that you will not violate the manufacturer’s terms and conditions when installing the open-source software onto their hardware.

Ready-made “pirate” devices preloaded with a number of third-party add-ons designed to facilitate piracy are colloquially known as Kodi Boxes or IPTV Boxes.

According to YouGov data, around five million people in the UK use pirated TV streaming services via so-called Kodi Boxes, Amazon Fire TV Chipped Sticks, and illegal streaming apps on smartphones and tablets.

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