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Pre-loaded Kodi boxes face legal challenge in UK

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Kodi, the open-source media centre software, has risen up the ranks to become one of the top home entertainment apps across a whole ton of platforms, from PC to mobile. But it's now facing a legal challenge in the UK over copyright laws.

Brian Thompson from Middlesborough is accused of selling so-called 'fully-loaded' Kodi set-top boxes. Rather than just allowing a user access to their own videos, photos and music, Thompson is accused of offering set-top boxes configured in such a way as to "[facilitate] the circumvention" of copyright protection.

While Thompson has not entered a plea, he told the Gazette Live that he intends to challenge the charges, which follow an 18-month investigation.

Landmark case

It's the first time such a case has been brought forward in the UK, and will focus scrutiny on the use of applications like Kodi.

The developers of Kodi (which used to be known as Xbox Media Center, or 'XBMC' given its roots on Microsoft's first games console) have stated time and again that they do not support the third-party add ons which give users access to pirated content such as subscription TV and Hollywood movies.

As it's an open-source application, Kodi's developers maintain a "neutral stance" on how individuals use the software. However, they are prepared to fight those who use the trademarked Kodi name to sell kit with piracy-enabling tools onboard.

It's an open secret, though, that Kodi-enabled piracy runs rampant. Mr Thompson's trial date is to be announced later today, and fans of the open-source software will do well to follow it.

Gerald is the Executive Editor for TechRadar, taking care of the site's home cinema, gaming, smart home, entertainment and audio output. He loves gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Based out of TechRadar Towers, London, Gerald was previously Editor of Gizmodo UK. He is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press.

Gerald dreams of the day when he can pop on a VR headset and meet Lawnmower Man-era Pierce Brosnan. Sadly, Pierce doesn't share the dream.