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Kodi users who stream illegally face one of the biggest threats to date | Tech | Life & Style

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Despite Kodi being totally legal it seems the TV Player continues to be the focus of attention for movie studios and the authorities.

The popular player is now thought to be in over 30 million homes across the globe with a large percentage rumoured to be using it to view content illegally via add-ons.

With so many users accessing premium content without paying for subscriptions it seems those producing content and even the US president himself have had enough.

Speaking during a recent ITIF discussion called ‘Unboxing the Piracy Threat of Streaming Media Boxes’, Neil Fried, Senior Vice President, Federal Advocacy and Regulatory Affairs at the Motion Picture Association of America, demanded illegal streaming needs to stop.

“There are legitimate businesses that are really being harmed here,” Fried said.

And he warned that those involved in this type of activity could face serious consequences.

“So, we’ve gone to the DoJ (Department of Justice) and said look this is criminal behaviour.

“We do a little of our own forensic work and get some referrals and the DoJ is looking at a variety of these candidates for criminal action.

“It’s hurting lots of economic activity and it openly hurts audiences because it’s hurting creators as they are not being paid for their work.

“There’s a criminal enterprise going on here that’s stealing content and making a profit.

“The piracy activity out there is bad, it’s hurting a lot of economic activity and creators aren’t being compensated for their work,

“This is theft, this is a crime and it needs to stop.”

To show how seriously America is taking the issues surrounding Kodi-style set-top boxes even US President, Donald Trump, has made his feeling clear.

“The U.S. is acting swiftly on Intellectual Property theft. We cannot allow this to happen as it has for many years!” Mr Trump threaten on Twitter.

While many users legally stream online content using devices like devices such as Apple TV or Amazon’s Fire TV Sticks there are a growing number of users who buy ‘fully loaded” devices to avoid paying for content.

Makers of these set-top boxes often advertise that their products come pre-loaded with software add-ons that will allow users to watch their favourite movies and TV shows without paying for access.

Unsurprisingly, these “pirate boxes” are becoming evermore popular with a recent study from Sandvine finding that roughly six per cent of North American households were using one to stream unlicensed content.

And it’s not just the US that’s taking the matter seriously as the UK has also put stricts rules when dealing with online piracy.

The UK government’s Digital Economy Act, which came into force last year, means anyone caught sharing illegal files in the UK could now be imprisoned for up to 10 years.

Until now the maximum jail term for copyright infringement was two years but this has now been increased to a maximum of 10.

Minister of State for Digital and Culture at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport Matt Hancock said: “I’m delighted the Digital Economy Act has become law.

“This legislation will help build a more connected and stronger economy.

“The Act will enable major improvements in broadband rollout, better support for consumers, better protection for children on the Internet, and further transformation of government services.”

This new ruling is clearly aimed at those sharing files on a mass scale but user who watch live streams via TV players such as Kodi are also being warned.

Kieron Sharp, FACT Chief Executive, said: “Consumers need to be aware that devices that allow you access to premium pay-for TV channels without a legitimate subscription, or access to films that are not yet available to rent or buy, are illegal.

“Whilst end users are not a target, they could get swept up in one of our operations and become part of the whole criminal investigation, which could lead to prosecution alongside the suppliers, retailers and importers”

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