UK consults on ‘Kodi box’ legislation

The UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is calling for views on whether there is any need for legislative change to deal with the issue of illicit IPTV streaming devices.

According to the IPO, the use of IPTV boxes to access illegal content appears to have increased in recent months.

Such boxes were 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.

Configuring IPTV boxes in this way allows the consumer to easily access subscription TV, sports and films for the one-off price of a box (usually £40 [€47.21] to £50). It is claimed that the ease of use of these boxes, the wide range of illicit content available and the fact they are freely available from a number of well-known online retailers as well as physical stores, has led to a sharp rise in their use by consumers.

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 government is keen to understand where further action might be necessary to address this problem. The IPO is therefore seeking views from those with knowledge and experience in dealing with IPTV boxes.

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