Is this it for Kodi boxes? New crackdown forces hundreds of sellers to shut down

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The days of getting your hands on a so called fully loaded Kodi box may be all but over.

According to a new report, around 200 major resellers and distributors of the boxes have shut down since April, after the EU court of Justice ruled it was illegal to sell them.

The Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) devices or media players are often called ‘Kodi boxes’ by users, despite the volunteers behind the Kodi software having never actually manufactured any kind of hardware.

The fully loaded boxes are so called because they come pre loaded with software and third party add ons that enable users to watch copyrighted content such as Premier League Football, TV shows and the latest movies.

The popularity of the boxes have skyrocketed in recent years, none more so than in Thailand where expats use the Kodi boxes to watch TV from their home county or sporting events without the need to fork out for a monthly subscription.

But its popularity has meant that it has come to the attention of anti-piracy organisations, content rights holders and broadcasters who have been pressuring law enforcement organisations to tackle the problem of people using the boxes to access copyrighted content.

Kodi

Kodi software

However, it now appears the global crackdown is starting to have an impact on those who sell the ‘fully loaded Kodi boxes’.

Protection Rights Entertainment Industry Netherlands (BREIN) told Torrent Freak that 200 sellers of Kodi boxes have shutdown in the last three months.

According to BREIN those selling the boxes had been doing so via dedicated websites or on other platforms such as Facebook, eBay or Amazon – all of which recently announced that sales of the boxes have been banned.

“Typically we send an explanatory letter with a cease and desist undertaking. Everyone gets the opportunity to settle. Most take it,” said Tim Kuik from BREIN.

Mr Kuik explained that if the seller refuses to comply then “willful infringement is assumed and this means no more warnings” and the case is likely to go to court if a settlement can not be reached.

“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.”

Earlier this week Kodi released a statement criticising those who sell the so called ‘fully loaded Kodi boxes’.

As well as targeting the sellers of the boxes, a lawsuit filed in the United States has resulted in the closure of the some of the most popular third party add on sites and repositories, which has made it increasingly difficult for those using Kodi to access copyrighted content.

In Thailand, illegal streaming and the sale of fully loaded Kodi boxes have also come to the attention of the authorities.

In May, Thailand’s telecoms regulator the NBTC announced that any producers and importers of Internet TV boxes had to apply for a license in which they would need to prove their box is not being used to stream copyrighted content.

The NBTC warned that those who produce, import or sell unauthorized Internet TV boxes in Thailand face up to two years in jail and/or a fine of up to 2 million baht.

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