A new report released in the UK has revealed the impact so called Kodi boxes have on anti piracy efforts and that authorities eager to crack down on illegal IPTV streaming may be faced with a near impossible task.
The report issued by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), said the rise of illegal IPTV boxes along with audio ripping software threatens to undo a decline in piracy rates in the UK.
The report also said a staggering one in four Brits have accessed pirated content in the last three months.
The reports highlights a correlation between the growing use of the “fully loaded Kodi boxes” and other illegal streaming devices, with a failure by the government to tackle online piracy.
The report also singled out the use of software that ‘rips’ audio from YouTube, which is then converted into audio and video files.
The report said that people are drawn away from legitimate services such as Spotify and Apple Music which required a subscription, in favour of the ‘ripping’ software.
While the UK had seen a reduction in online piracy, due to the introduction of the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime, the rise of Kodi boxes had reversed the decline and fueled a new wave of piracy, the report said.
The report found that 15 percent of all internet users in the UK are either streaming or downloading copyright infringed content.
“It’s great that legal streaming sites continue to be a hugely popular choice for consumers,” said Ros Lynch, Copyright and IP Enforcement Director at the IPO.
“The success and popularity of these platforms show the importance of evolution and innovation in the entertainment industry.
“Ironically it is innovation that also benefits those looking to undermine IP rights and benefit financially from copyright infringement. There has never been more choice or flexibility for consumers of TV and music, however illicit streaming devices and stream-ripping are threatening this progress.
“Content creators deserve to be paid for their work – it is not a grey area. This government takes IP infringement extremely seriously and we are working with our industry partners and law enforcement to tackle this emerging threat.”
It is not only the UK which is trying to crackdown on online piracy made possible through Kodi.
In the US a wave of lawsuits has resulted in the sudden closure of popular Kodi add ons and streaming sites, with the operators facing prosecution and hefty fines. Other operators of similar streaming sites have since closed voluntarily, themselves eager to avoid possible prosecution.
In Thailand, the telecoms and broadcasting regulator the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) announced that all importers and producers of Internet TV boxes, including Android boxes, HDMI dongles and TV sticks required permission from the authorities.
People who import, produce or sell the Internet TV boxes in Thailand without the permission of the NBTC face a maximum of two years in jail and/or a maximum fine of two million baht.
Following the announcement from the NBTC, officers from Department of Special Investigations, Thailand’s equivalent of the FBI, earlier this year carried out raids in Bangkok and arrested two British men and Thai woman involved in running illegal IPTV services.
Those arrested were suspected of running 365sport.tv, which is used to stream English Premier League football, as well as Thaiexpat.tv, Hkexpat.tv, Inoexpat.tv, Vietexpat.tv and Euroexpat.tv.