January 27, 2017
The man at the center of a landmark case involving the supply of “fully-loaded” Kodi boxes pleaded not guilty this morning. Middlesbrough shopkeeper Brian Thompson admits selling modified set-top boxes but denies that they were primarily designed to “facilitate the circumvention of effective technological measures.”
With the advent of cheap Android devices such as Amazon’s Fire Stick and dozens of set-top variants, anyone can install legal software such as Kodi to watch recorded media.
However, those very same devices can be modified to do things that at best sit in a legal gray area and at worst could be illegal. We’re talking about viewing movies, TV shows, live TV and PPV events, without paying a dime to anyone.
In some parts of the world the phenomenon has reached epidemic proportions, so much so that the Federation Against Copyright Theft now cite it as a major concern in the UK. But while there is not much anyone can do to clamp down on people at home doing a DIY job on their own setups, it is possible to crack down on people who supply pre-modified devices.
One individual that has found himself in the middle of the controversy is UK-based Brian ‘Tomo’ Thompson. The Middlesbrough-based shopkeeper was previously raided by police and Trading Standards after selling “fully loaded” Android boxes from his small premises.
Unusually for such cases, Thompson is being prosecuted by his local council. He’s under the impression that he’s done nothing wrong but now wants 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 gray area but I want it in black and white,” he said last September.