Testing Streaming Piracy Limits | NEXBOX TV Box
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Testing Streaming Piracy Limits

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  • Now, people with an interest in Internet file-sharing discuss what is permissible under current legislation. It’s an important exercise if people are to stay on the right side of the law.

    These discussions have historically taken place among enthusiasts but with the advent of easily accessible piracy tools such as Popcorn Time, modified Kodi, and Showbox, the man in the street his now taking part.

    One individual that has provoked interest among the public is UK-based Brian ‘Tomo’ Thompson, who was previously raided by police and Trading Standards after selling “fully loaded” Android boxes from his shop in the north-east.

    Thompson is now being prosecuted by his local council. He says he intends to fight back to discover where the boundaries lie for sellers of similar devices.

    “All I want to know is whether I am doing anything illegal. I know it’s a grey area but I want it in black and white,” he said this week.

    “I’m prepared to accept what the court decides but at the moment as far as I’m concerned I’m not breaking the law.”

    There are many people who share Thompson’s opinion and there’s no shortage of supporters willing the Middlesbrough man on to victory against what some see as a vindictive prosecution.

    But while this is indeed an attack on the little guy, Thompson is almost certainly about to sacrifice himself for little to no gain. Admittedly the case isn’t completely straightforward, but a conviction seems almost inevitable. Here’s why.

    Hardware devices – whether a computer, Android phone, tablet, or in this case, a set-top box – are 100% legal. Anyone can buy, sell or trade such devices almost anywhere in the world with no issues.

    Thompson knows this, describing the blank devices as “just like a big USB stick.” While not a great analogy, for the purposes of the law, that will suffice.

    On its own, the Kodi media player is also 100% legal. Anyone can download, install, use or give away the software with no problems whatsoever. Installing Kodi on an Android device and selling it is legal almost everywhere and definitely legal in the UK.

    If Thompson had only done the above – sell Android set-top boxes with basic Kodi installed – he would have no issues with the police or indeed Trading Standards. Individually and combined, the software and devices are completely non-infringing.

    However, Thompson did not stop there. What he did was sold Android boxes with Kodi installed, plus all the extra third-party addons that allow people to view infringing movies, TV shows, live sports, plus all the other ‘goodies’ that buyers of these boxes demand. His adverts on Facebook make that very clear.

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