Millions of Brits have bought so-called Kodi boxes which can be connected to their TVs to stream pay-per-view sport and films for free.
The technology used to stream pirated material is not illegal, but selling a device which has been “fully loaded” to allow people to watch pirate films or sports events is, the highest court in Europe has ruled.
That means anyone selling a box which is intended to be used to infringe copyright will be treated as if they have infringed copyright themselves, and could be put behind bars.
It’s not illegal to buy a box, or use one in your living room, however.
In a document published today, the European Court of Justice sided against Dutch man Mr Wullems, who sold multimedia players through a website.
It said the underlying technology of the players was legal, but noted that the boxes were often configured in a way that promoted piracy.
It’s widely believed that streaming material instead of downloading it means you aren’t infringing copyright, but in this case the European Court said there was no difference between the two.
A British millionaire who sold Kodi boxes to pubs for £1,000 so they could illegally screen Premier League football was slapped with a £250,000 bill earlier this year.
But the new European ruling means it will be difficult for anyone caught flogging devices to appeal British Judge’s decisions for the next few years.
The Sun Online recently revealed how eBay had begun wiping “fully loaded” Kodi box sets from its online marketplace.
Amazon has also banned Kodi box sales.
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