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Kodi boxes 'threaten to undermine' the UK's anti-piracy efforts

From Engadget - July 7, 2017

According to the IPO, research conducted by Kantar Media in March found that roughly 7 million Brits are guilty of online piracy, with 13 percent of those using modified set-top boxes to get their fill. (Note that these figures are based on a survey of 5,267 people and extrapolated to represent the entire UK population.) Additional data in The Telegraph suggests that while music and films are becoming less attractive to pirates, TV shows have grown in popularity. Among people who watch shows illegally, 16 percent did so through Kodi and 17 percent used streaming website Putlocker.

Torrent sites like The Pirate Bay have long been in the crosshairs of the authorities and copyright holders, and still are -- the UK's 'educational' piracy email alert programme, which began this year, relies almost entirely on public torrent data to function. But set-top boxes capable of streaming films, TV shows and sports events illegally have been receiving much more attention of late, and most finger-wagging has been directed firmly at Kodi. While it's an entirely legitimate media centre application, it supports third-party plug-ins that modify the software to access pirate streams.

Between high-profile criminal cases targeting 'fully loaded' box sellers, the Premier League winning the right to take down servers powering football streams, the EU ruling that preconfigured set-top boxes are indeed illegal and lawsuits aimed at the add-on community directly, Kodi is rarely out of the headlines these days. The UK's Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) has even threatened to start tracking down the owners of Kodi boxes individually, not just sellers.

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