Based on a case brought forward by the Dutch court, the EU Court of Justice has ruled that streaming boxes pre-loaded with piracy add-ons are illegal to sell. The judgement is expected to set precedent in other EU countries.
Fully loaded streaming boxes
So-called ”fully loaded” streaming boxes can be based on Kodi with third-party plugins that provide access to pirate services, including sports, movies, and channels.
The Kodi software is not illegal but the third party plugins can be. The team behind Kodi has tried to distance the software from the case arguing that it can be used for all kinds of purposes. Unlike streaming boxes such as the Apple TV, Kodi allows anyone to release plugins. This has proven a tough legal nut to crack so the case has made it all the way to the EU Court of Justice.
The case started in Holland in 2015 and involved a Dutch online shop (Filmspeler.nl) that was selling streaming boxes preloaded with Kodi and pirate plugins. The site describes how the boxes are ”plug and play” and that they come preloaded with services to watch the latest movies and live sports.
In the judgment the EU court rules that selling streaming devices pre-loaded with piracy add-ons constitute copyright infringement.
- "Mr Wullems, in full knowledge of the consequences of his conduct, pre-installs, on the multimedia player add-ons that make it possible to have access to protected works and to watch those works on a television screen," the judgment notice reads. "Such actions are not to be confused with the mere provision of physical facilities, referred to in the directive. In that regard, it is clear from the observations submitted to the Court that streaming websites are not readily identifiable by the public and the majority of them change frequently."
The full judgement is available here. It is expected to set precedent in other EU countries.