Kodi box owners may face wrath of the law over illegal add-ons

Owners of Kodi boxes may want to rethink what goes into their streaming machine as a major intellectual property trade organization is cracking down on not just sellers of illegal add-ons, but those who use them as well.

Kieron Sharp of the UK-based Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) told The Independent that investigators could begin exposing illegal Kodi users in "the very near future."

While Kodi's software is perfectly legal — as well as useful for managing a vast library of digital content — the platform is unfortunately also very popular with pirates

This has resulted in a cottage industry of selling modified, illicit Kodi streaming boxes online that come pre-loaded with copyrighted material and other illegal add-ons.

Kodi has officially condemned using its service for illegal streaming, and though things have begun to clean up a bit, the Kodi brand still has trouble separating itself from its reputation for piracy.

As for FACT's strategy for investigating the sale of less-than-legitimate Kodi hardware, it appears things will start from the source and fan out.

“There's the manufacture and importation of devices, and then the distribution and selling of those," says Sharp. "We're also looking at the people who are providing the apps and add-ons, the developers."

Investigators may not stop at catching manufacturers of illegal Kodi boxes and applications, however, with Sharp saying that buyers of said boxes may also wind up in hot water.

"The reason for end users to come into this is that they are committing criminal offences," Sharp says, explaining that sales records from illegal Kodi box makers could tie them to their customers.

As FACT is a UK organization, it's not established how much other countries are invested in cracking down on illicit Kodi users. 

Copyright laws vary by region - an EU court, for example, recently ruled that selling pre-loaded Kodi boxes is against the law - though it's entirely possible that other organizations may follow suit with actions of their own soon.

Parker Wilhelm
Parker Wilhelm is a freelance writer for TechRadar. He likes to tinker in Photoshop and talk people's ears off about Persona 4.