More trouble for Kodi and illegal streaming as pair jailed in latest crackdown
The crackdown on illegal streaming continues with two men facing jail terms after selling Kodi-style illicit streaming devices to the public.
Glenn Burrows and Darren Wicks have appeared at Norwich Crown Court today where they were sentenced.
Burrows was sentenced to 22 months in prison on both counts to run concurrently.
Wicks was sentenced to 20 months in prison, suspended for 2 years. He also has to carry out 250 hours unpaid work.
The court heard how in 2016 Burrows operated under the company name “Ooberstick” and “Oober Media” and had several thousand customers using illicit streaming devices, which enabled customers to obtain Sky’s premium content without paying for a valid subscription.
According to TorrentFreak, the company offered devices containing a custom build of the popular Kodi player which when configured illegally could then allow access to premium content for free.
Detective Sergeant Samantha Shevlin, of the Norfolk and Suffolk Police Cyber Crime Unit, said: “I hope these sentences send a clear message that the use of illicit streaming devices to watch content without the copyright owner’s permission is illegal.
“The sale of these boxes has a huge effect on the content owners, broadcasters and the wider public who will end up paying the price for others’ dishonesty.
“The message really is that simple – devices like this or using one at home to watch content you normally would pay for is breaking the law.”
This latest news comes after a shopkeeper who sold “preloaded” TV boxes which let viewers watch premium sport and movies for free was spared jail.
Brian Thompson, 55, had initially denied the charges, setting up the prospect of a landmark court case.
But he changed his plea to guilty last month. The “Kodi” set-top devices – also known as Android boxes – allow users to stream subscription content, including Premier League football and blockbuster films, free of charge.
At Teesside Crown Court, Thompson, of Middlesbrough, was sentenced for one count of selling and one count of advertising devices “designed, produced or adapted for the purpose of enabling the circumvention of effective technological measures”.
Judge Peter Armstrong told him: “If anyone was under any illusion as to whether such devices as these, fully loaded Kodi boxes, were illegal or not, they can no longer be in any doubt.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that in all the circumstances, an immediate custodial sentence is not called for.
“As a warning to others in future, they may not be so lucky.”
With millions of people across the UK using Kodi it’s become the focus of attention for rights holders and the authorities.
Kodi is not illegal but add-ons can be installed which then allow access to a swathe of premium content.
Along with being illegal, the illicit streaming devices which often come pre-installed with the player, can have other hidden dangers.
New research from Electrical Safety First, the UK’s electrical safety experts, and FACT, the UK’s leading intellectual property protection organisation, has demonstrated the risk posed by these illicit streaming devices.
Researchers conducted a series of product safety tests on a number of popular Kodi-style streaming boxes – and found 100 per cent failed to meet national electrical safety regulations.
Product Safety Manager at Electrical Safety First, Steve Curtler said: “This year consumers thinking about buying an illegal streaming device for Christmas need to know that by plugging them into their TV they could potentially be putting themselves, their home and their family at risk.
“We urge anyone with one of these devices to unplug it and stop using it immediately.
“Not only are these devices breaking the law, but they could be putting your loved ones at risk.