A man has been fined over £200,000 for selling Kodi boxes
The Kodi crackdown continues.
After a number of Kodi arrests were made last month a man accused of selling "fully loaded" boxes has now been fined a massive £250,000.
Malcolm Mayes, from Hartlepool, sold IPTV boxes, sometimes referred to as ‘Kodi’ boxes or ‘Android’ boxes, which had been modified to allow the users to freely view content that should otherwise be paid for.
Mr Mayes targeted pubs and clubs when selling the devices, falsely claiming in national magazine adverts that they were ‘100% legal’.
He sold the boxes for around £1,000 each which enabled his customers to stream live ‘pay to view’ content, including live Premier League football, free of charge.
National Trading Standards conducted a test purchase on a device sold by Mr Mayes and found the box had been adapted so as to allow ‘pay to view’ programmes to be viewed free of charge.
Following his guilty plea Mr Mayes was sentenced to ten months in prison (suspended for one year) and ordered to pay costs of £170,000. A Proceeds of Crime Act order was also made against him for a further £80,000.
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Speaking about the conviction Lord Toby Harris, Chair of National Trading Standards, said: “Mr Mayes knowingly sold these illegal boxes which breached copyright law, misleading small businesses by falsely claiming that these devices were legal. I hope this conviction sends a clear message that criminal activity doesn’t pay.
“I would also warn any person or business selling or operating such a device that they are in breach of copyright law. National Trading Standards will continue to protect legitimate business and pursue those who breach copyright in this way.”
I would also warn any person or business selling or operating such a device that they are in breach of copyright law
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Lord Toby Harris, Chair of National Trading Standards
Ian Harrison, Trading Standards & Licensing Manager for Hartlepool Borough Council added: “The cost of this case has been significant to Mr Mayes. In pleading guilty he has accepted that it is illegal to sell a device that allows the free viewing of ‘pay to view’ television. This is common sense and should be obvious to anyone.
“Mr Mayes should not be seen as a Robin Hood type character. In selling these devices he was not stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. He was stealing from the rich to make himself richer. Many of the pubs and clubs that bought his devices lost significant amounts of money when the devices failed to operate as promised.
“We will continue to target those traders and individuals who make their living from selling counterfeit goods or in other ways allow intellectual property to be stolen.”
The news of this latest arrest comes as Kodi boxes continue to be placed under the spotlight.
These boxes have become hugely popular in recent years with many cutomised to play premium content for free.
Kodi software isn't illegal but streaming content without paying for it is.
The UK's Intellectual Property Office is trying to tackle copyright and fraud caused by these hugely-popular streaming boxes.
Following a growing number of complaints from right-holders and broadcasters, the UK's Intellectual Property Office, or IPO, is purportedly holding a number of meetings to decide whether the law needs to be changed to tackle the popularity of Kodi boxes.
The IPO has called a consultation and is asking for input from a number of groups with experience of investigating and prosecuting offences related to these streaming devices.
In a post about its consultation about Kodi Boxes, the IPO writes: “Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) boxes (also known as set-top boxes, Android TV boxes or Kodi boxes) are small plug and play media servers, originally designed to allow consumers to stream legitimate content (locally stored or legal online content).
“Despite the legitimate use of this equipment, software is widely available (illicit Kodi extensions being the best known) which connect the boxes to illegal content through streaming websites, file lockers and BitTorrent trackers.”
This recent change has riled copyright owners and those whose business relies on the official, paid-for distribution of copyrighted content.
“Broadcasters and content owners have voiced concerns that, although a range of existing legislation applies to the sale and use of these devices (as well as the provision of illicit content streams), the legal framework does not provide sufficient tools to tackle this growing threat,” the IPO adds.
The consultation will close on April 7th 2017.