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As UK law tightens around so-called Kodi Boxes, here’s how to spot a 'pirate' stream
Pirate streaming devices, like those powered by the open-source Kodi software, have come under increased scrutiny in the UK.
Earlier this week, Amazon announced plans to take a tough new stance on vendors selling media players that enable customers to access pirate streams and copyright-protected material for free.
Kodi is just one example of the software that can be used to power these "pirate" media players.
Kodi is a neutral, open-source media player software that can be installed on a broad range of devices.
However, this legal media player can be used to run third-party add-ons that enable users to access copyright-protected material for free – uploaded, shared or streamed from other users across the globe. And it's these ready-made "pirate" streaming devices, which are manufactured by a range of different brands but running Kodi and a slew of third-party add-ons, that are often colloquially dubbed Kodi Boxes.
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Amazon now explicitly bans all media players that "promote" or "suggest" the easy facilitation of piracy.
Sellers who violate the policy could have any inventory stored in Amazon fulfilment centres destroyed – with no reimbursement, the company warns.
Some estimates currently place 20 million devices running Kodi in use in the UK at the moment.
Kodi is not the only software that enables these types of "pirate" streaming devices – but it is one of the most well-known.
Last September, the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) branded the use of Kodi software to tune into pirated streams as an "epidemic".
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Meanwhile, the Premier League has launched its "largest ever" crackdown on streaming devices, like the so-called Kodi Boxes that enable football fans to watch matches – including 3pm kick-offs – for free.
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Express.co.uk spoke to the National Trading Standards to find out how consumers can spot whether or not the feed they are watching is legitimate – or whether it is being procured illegally.
Howard Turton, of the National Trading Standards North East Regional Investigations Team, highlighted a few telltale signs that consumers should be on the look-out for when in a public house, or other business premises.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Turton said: "Sky and BT are the only two broadcasters in the UK who can actually provide this content – and we're talking about Premier League football, here.
"They're the only two broadcasters, so if the normal BT and the normal Sky logos aren't on the feed, then there's definitely cause for concern.
"If the Premier League logo, which is generally used around the either the scores or the time, aren't there, then there is also cause for concern.
"If there is a foreign broadcaster's logo on there, then it's likely to be illegal. If there are no logos on it at all – then again, it is probably illegal."
Sky places a Pint Glass logo in the corner of the screen to highlight a legitimate stream
It's also worth keeping your eyes peeled for a small pint glass icon in the corner of the TV.
Sky will display this small logo from time-to-time on business customers' TVs to enable customers to quickly spot that they are watching a legitimate feed.
On its website, the UK broadcaster explains: "We take illegal use of our programming very seriously because it’s important to ensure our legitimate Sky subscribers are not left short changed.
"The only legal way to show Sky Sports programming in Licensed premises in mainland UK is through a valid commercial viewing agreement from Sky Business."
Those who do not spot the small logo in a business premises can contact Sky with their queries on 08442 411 111.
Sky also provides a live map that shows all pubs with access to Sky Sports here.