Kodi boxes: UK government explains why you MUST stop using them now

Kodi boxes, and other so-called illicit streaming devices (ISDs), are the big-target for anti-piracy organizations at the moment. It’s a war being fought on many fronts. While bulling third-party add-on developers into retiring using legal threats is one of the most high-profile approaches, it’s far from the only tactic being used.

Governments and anti-piracy organizations are also using heavy doses of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) to persuade Kodi lovers to seek other -- legal -- methods for streaming content.

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If you’re anything like me, you probably roll your eyes when you read outlandish claims of how piracy is being used to fund crime and terrorism. The UK government’s latest guidance -- which comes from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) -- manages to slip that gem in, among its other reasons.

The guidance begins by telling users how to identify an illicit streaming device:

If you are watching television programmes, films or sporting events where you would normally be paying to view them and you have not paid, you are likely to be using an illicit streaming device (ISD) or app. This could include a film recently released in the cinema, a sporting event that is being broadcast by BT Sport or a television programme, like Game of Thrones, that is only available on Sky.

If you are watching television programmes, films or sporting events where you would normally be paying to view them and you have not paid, you are likely to be using an illicit streaming device (ISD) or app. This could include a film recently released in the cinema, a sporting event that is being broadcast by BT Sport or a television programme, like Game of Thrones, that is only available on Sky.

These devices are often purchased online and described as ‘Fully Loaded, Jail Broken, Plug and Play or Subscription Gift’. They are described using these terms to show that they have been adapted and are functioning as an illicit streaming device.

In some cases consumers buy devices and subsequently add the software, this also makes it an illicit streaming device.

It then goes on to explain why you should not buy these products:

  • These devices often lack parental controls. Using them could expose children or young people to explicit or age inappropriate content.
  • Another important reason for consumers to avoid purchasing these streaming devices is from an electrical safety point of view. Where devices and their power cables have been tested, some have failed EU safety standards and have the potential to present a real danger to the public, causing a fire in your home or premises.
  • The creative industries in the UK is a very important sector. It provides employment for more than 1.9 million people and contributes £84.1 billion to our economy. Using illicit streaming devices is illegal. If you are not paying for this content you are depriving industry of the revenue it needs to fund the next generation of TV programmes, films and sporting events we all enjoy. Instead it provides funds for the organized criminals who sell or adapt these illicit devices.

By "organized criminals" the IPO really means "Dave down the pub, or ordinary people out to make a quick buck," and while the idea of a Kodi box setting your home on fire might seem like a terrifying prospect, the test this claim is based on was a review of just nine Kodi boxes, and you probably have far more dangerous devices in your home -- including cheap phone chargers.

In the unlikely event this guidance has persuaded anyone to give up their Kodi box/ISD, the IPO provides the following advice:

These devices can be used legally by removing the software. If you are unsure get advice to help you use the device legally. If you wish to watch content that’s only available via subscription, such as sports, you should approach the relevant provider to find out about legal ways to watch.

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