Brian Thompson, a 54-year-old trader from Middlesbrough, was recently arrested for the sale of ‘Kodi’ boxes – a popular set-top streaming device. His trial will set a landmark UK precedent with regards to copyright law. You may know someone who owns a Kodi box, or you may even have one in your own living room. They’re available through retailers like Amazon, and reviews of them can be found across the web. So why was Mr. Thompson arrested?
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What is a Kodi box?
A ‘Kodi box’ is a loose term for any internet TV box designed with using the Kodi app first and foremost. Most of the time they’re sold with the app pre-installed. Technically any TV streamer capable of installing it could be a Kodi box, but when the term is used in the press it is most commonly in reference to the legally dubious first kind.
Is Kodi legal?
The problem with Kodi is that, while it utilises some wonderfully versatile and easy-to-use software, it can also be easily used for illegal streaming. Subscription sports and movie packages, for example, are only a few clicks and a quick download away – and all for free. The reason Mr. Thompson was arrested was not because he was selling Kodi boxes, but because he was selling them pre-loaded with these illegal apps and services.
Put simply: Kodi, and boxes with Kodi installed, are perfectly legal. The problem arises when the Kodi app is used to illegally stream subscription content. Obviously that’s something you shouldn’t do. And when you take those apps that allow you to illegally stream and pre-install them onto a streaming box, before then selling them as a free all-in-one global streaming source? That’s when you get into massive legal trouble, like Mr. Thompson.
What can you do legally with Kodi?
You shouldn’t fear the app, despite all of the negative press it’s received lately. If you own a popular internet streaming box like the Amazon Fire TV (above) or the NVIDIA Shield TV you can install the app onto it by downloading it from its official website. It also runs on any Android, iOS, Windows, Mac or Linux device.
You can then choose from a huge array of legal add-ons, all of which are housed within the larger Kodi app. There are literally hundreds of them to choose from. YouTube, SoundCloud, Twitch, PBS and 9GAG are all available, which is fantastic if your streaming box doesn’t offer them via its usual app store.
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