Resultados 1 a 9 de 9
  1. #1
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010

    [EN] 70% of Kodi installations are configured to access unlicensed video content

    Set-Top Box Sellers, Unlicensed Video Services, and File Hosts Profiting Most

    Waterloo, ON; May 4, 2017 – Sandvine, (TSX:SVC) a leading provider of intelligent broadband network solutions for fixed and mobile operators, today released a Global Internet Phenomena Spotlight focusing on the “fully-loaded” Kodi ecosystem in North America. The report is based on data collected from multiple tier-1 fixed access networks in North America and examines the mechanics and economics of using Kodi to access what many content owners believe to be unlicensed live and on-demand video content.

    Kodi (formerly known as XBMC) is an open source media player that allows users to view local and remote videos on PCs, set-top boxes, smartphones, and tablets. Recently, the Kodi name has become increasingly associated with streaming of unlicensed content thanks to the availability of “fully-loaded” Kodi set-top boxes. These set-top boxes are sold online and in retail stores with versions of Kodi that contain unofficial “Add-ons” and modifications designed to drastically lower the technical know-how required to access unlicensed live and on-demand video content.

    The report also seeks to correct the misconception that Kodi and its developers, the XBMC Foundation, are the primary beneficiaries in an ecosystem of streaming unlicensed content. The major beneficiaries of this new form of piracy appear to be parties in the ecosystem that are selling the “fully-loaded” hardware, unlicensed streaming services, and hosting services for monetary gain. Even absent the Kodi software, this ecosystem would still be in place and unlicensed video content still accessible via web browsers and other media players.

    Sandvine’s Global Internet Phenomena Spotlight: The “Fully-Loaded” Kodi Ecosystem contains some revelatory facts, the highlights of which include:

    • 9% of North American households have at least one device in their household with an active Kodi installation
    • 70% of households with Kodi devices also have unofficial Add-ons configured to access unlicensed content
    • Approximately 6% of all households in North America, currently have a Kodi device configured to access unlicensed content
    • ”Fully-loaded” Kodi boxes can access unlicensed content for free, as well as premium services featuring larger amounts of unlicensed content for a monthly fee

    “Kodi is often referred to by name as the root of the unlicensed content streaming problem, but the true roots of the problem appear to be the illegitimate video service providers and file hosts who are making a profit by enabling access to unlicensed content,” said Don Bowman, CTO, Sandvine. “Sandvine’s business intelligence tools can help communications service providers to measure and track not only the applications being used to access unlicensed video content but more importantly to understand the origin of unlicensed content so that they can work with law enforcement to ensure that their license rights are upheld.”

    The Global Internet Phenomena Spotlight on the “fully-loaded” Kodi Ecosystem is available for download from the “Fraud” Trends page on

  2. #2
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010

    UK: Kodi and pirates face 10 years in jail

    Fully-loaded Kodi boxes have exploded in popularity with many using them to pirate Premier League football

    Simon Meechan, Jeff Parsons
    4 MAY 2017

    Illegally streaming football or hit TV shows hardly new - but since “fully-loaded” Kodi set-top telly boxes arrived it has become a lot easier.

    There’s nothing illegal about a basic Kodi box, they can be used to watch paid-for services like Amazon Prime and Netflix. But once they are customised with add-ons which let you access copyrighted content like live Premier League matches or PPV boxing without paying a fee, users start entering murky waters.

    And now a new law means anyone caught illegally sharing or selling pirated content could end up in prison for 10 years.

    The Government has raised the maximum sentence for copyright infringement from two years to a decade, as the Digital Economy Act has been written into British law, our colleagues at Mirror Online report here.

    “I’m delighted the Digital Economy Act has become law,” Matt Hancock, the minister of state for Digital and Culture said.

    “This legislation will help build a more connected and stronger economy. The Act will enable major improvements in broadband rollout, better support for consumers, better protection for children on the Internet, and further transformation of government services.”

    Does this mean I could end up with 10-stretch for watching a football match or movie on Kodi?

    It's unlikely, the 10-year sentences and probably all jail terms for copyright infringement are reserved for those who provide or sell the content illegally.

    Kieron Sharp, the CEO of FACT , told Mirror Tech that the copyright measures included in the bill are primarily targeted at those committing a serious offense. Anyone “making a business” out of selling illegal content could potentially face up to ten years rather that two.

    Those who casually stream a couple of movies every once in a while are very unlikely to be prosecuted to such extremes, he said.

    “For minor matters, nothing changes,” he said. “But it should hopefully provide a little bit of clarity.”

    BUT you are still technically a criminal if you use Kodi, torrents or streaming sites illegally

    Clearly, it would be very difficult to prosecute everybody who has ever downloaded or streamed content without paying the right person, because so many people do it.

    But, by the letter of the Digital Economy Act, piracy is a crime and you’re a criminal if you choose to stream or download illegally.

    As the Open Rights Group notes, Clause 27 of the Act states that criminal liability is to be determined by “causing loss” and “risk of loss” to the owner of the copyright.

    This is defined as merely failing to pay a licence fee, so ordinary people engaged in domestic “filesharing” on a non-commercial basis could potentially find themselves facing long jail sentences.

    Surely the police don’t have the resources to catch me?

    Maybe not to, but according to the Open Rights Groups, the coppers are not the only people pirate streamers have to worry about.

    Predatory law firms, otherwise known as “copyright trolls”, look for evidence of online copyright infringement, and send out threatening letters demanding payment.

    “While we don’t think that all those people are going to suddenly face criminal charges, they can be threatened with it,” said Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group.

    “That’s going to fuel all kinds of copyright letter-writing - at its worst, the copyright trolls, who send people invoices saying ‘You owe us hundreds of pounds for file-sharing and if you don’t pay up we’ll take it to court’.

    “That’s going to make that threat really serious, because it’s potentially attached to a 10-year sentence. And that’s going to make it much harder and much more onerous for people to say, ‘No, I didn’t do this, I’m innocent’.”

    Mr Sharp said that, in reality, the most a small-time streamer is likely to be threatened with is a six month suspended sentence and a costly fee.

    But remember - the courts could always make an example of small-time copyright crooks.

    Kodi crackdown continues

    Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies continue to crack down on people who sell TV streaming devices prepackaged with a range of Kodi add-ons that offer access to illegally distributed content.

    Selling these “fully loaded” TV set-top devices is a breach of the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act 1988.

    In December 2016, Terry O’Reilly was sentenced to four years imprisonment for selling illegal set-top TV boxes, a prosecution brought by the Premier League with support from FACT.

    Then, in March, Malcolm Mayes, from Hartlepool, was sentenced to 10 months in prison (suspended for one year) and ordered to pay costs of £170,000.

    The boxes enabled his customers to stream live “pay to view” content - including live Premier League football - free of charge. Mr Mayes falsely claimed that they were “100% legal”.

    “I hope this conviction sends a clear message that criminal activity doesn’t pay,” said Lord Toby Harris, chair of National Trading Standards, at the time.

    “I would also warn any person or business selling or operating such a device that they are in breach of copyright law.”

  3. #3
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010

    UK: Digital Economy Act

    Authorities are becoming increasingly concerned about media players loaded with the open-source software and a variety of third-party add-ons

    Aatif Sulleyman
    3 May 2017

    The Digital Economy Act has passed into law, meaning people could now face ten-year prison sentences for illegally streaming copyrighted content.

    It covers a wide number of areas, including broadband speeds, access to online pornography and government data-sharing.

    However, amid the rising popularity of Kodi, an increase to the maximum prison term – from two years to ten – for people guilty of copyright infringement is particularly interesting.

    Anyone caught streaming TV shows, films and sports events illegally using websites, torrents and Kodi add-ons could technically face a decade behind bars.

    However, the new law will most likely target individuals and groups making a business out of selling illegal content, FACT CEO Kieron Sharp told the Mirror.

    "I’m delighted the Digital Economy Act has become law," said Matt Hancock, the minister of state for digital and culture.

    "This legislation will help build a more connected and stronger economy. The Act will enable major improvements in broadband rollout, better support for consumers, better protection for children on the Internet, and further transformation of government services."

    Authorities and broadcasters are becoming increasingly concerned about media players loaded with Kodi and a variety of third-party add-ons that provide free access to copyrighted content.

    Police Scotland recently claimed that “criminal gangs” have started selling media players pre-loaded with Kodi and a variety of third-party add-ons, because they see it as a less risky area of crime.

    “This is now seen as being normalised,” said Chief Inspector Mark Leonard, Police Scotland’s lead on counterfeiting.

    “A family will sit and watch one of these IPTV devices.”

    Amazon and the Premier League are also cracking down on illegal streams fed to media players running Kodi.

  4. #4
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010

    The UK government is cracking down on copyright infringement

    Internet pirates could now face up to 10 years in prison

    Emma Boyle
    4 May 2017

    Under the recently passed Digital Economy Act, the UK government has announced it’s cracking down on the use of Kodi boxes and other devices that are being configured to enable the streaming of copyrighted content.

    Under the new act, the maximum prison sentence for those found guilty of infringement has jumped significantly from two years to 10.

    This is just the latest move from law-makers in the ongoing battle against the sale of so-called ‘fully-loaded’ Kodi boxes.

    Cracking down

    Set-top boxes are of course legal, and the open-source Kodi software in its vanilla configuration is a harmless media center. But, Kodi supports the use of add-ons which can in some cases facilitate the illegal streaming of premium content, ranging from current cinema releases to streams of cable TV channels.

    Individual end-users of Kodi boxes are unlikely to be affected by the Digital Economy Act as streaming is not covered by the act. Instead individuals and businesses who sell the full-loaded boxes are the main targets.

    Individuals who torrent copyrighted material by downloaded as well as uploading are also impacted by these increased prison sentences as the act states that "A person…who infringes copyright in a work by communicating the work to the public commits an offense if [the person] knows or has reason to believe that [they are] infringing copyright in the work, and…knows or has reason to believe that communicating the work to the public will cause loss to the owner of the copyright, or will expose the owner of the copyright to a risk of loss."

    It’s the sellers of fully-loaded Kodi boxes that the European Court of Justice recently announced it was cracking down on when it ruled that that the sale of set-top boxes that have been kitted out with piracy-enabling third-party add ons is illegal.

    According to the ECJ, even if the retailer didn’t communicate to the public that accessing pirated content is possible on the device, copyright law “must be interpreted as covering the sale of a multimedia player, such as that at issue in the main proceedings, on which there are pre-installed add-ons, available on the internet, containing hyperlinks to websites – that are freely accessible to the public – on which copyright-protected works have been made available to the public without the consent of the right holders.”

    Significantly for streamers the ECJ also stated that “acts of temporary reproduction, on a multimedia player” were no longer exceptions to EU copyright law. This means that streamers will no longer be able to legitimately defend themselves under EU law on the basis that streaming doesn't involve creating and distributing physical copies of copyrighted content.

    Retailers as well as law-makers are getting involved in the crack down, with Amazon and eBay recently announcing that they were banning the sale of the pre-configured devices on their marketplaces.

    Kodi itself seems to have welcomed the news on Twitter.

    You have to feel for Kodi, which has gained this reputation as piracy software despite not pirating content directly. It's piracy software in the same way as Chrome is, since every torrent that's ever been downloaded has been discovered through a web browser.

    Whether or not these rulings will have a significant impact on the sale and use of fully-loaded Kodi boxes is yet to be seen but it’s a clear indication that governments and retailers are not resting on their laurels.

  5. #5
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010

    How Kodi plans to stop you watching illegal streams on its media player

    Kodi is making some changes - but will they stop people using the media player to watch pirated content?

    Blow for Kodi users as European court rules that streaming pirated films and TV shows IS illegal

    Sophie Curtis
    4 MAY 2017

    Kodi has a big problem.

    The media player is totally legal, but it has been taken over by pirates, who use third party plug-ins and add-ons to stream illegally copied films and TV shows.

    As a result, Kodi has gained a reputation as a "piracy facilitator", meaning many legitimate content publishers like Netflix and Amazon refuse to work with it.

    There's not a lot Kodi can do about the add-ons. It could block them but, as Kodi is open source, their code would immediately be edited to circumvent the block.

    The XBMC Foundation, which oversees the Kodi software, has therefore announced a couple of measures, in an effort to turn its image around.

    Legal crackdown

    The first of these measures is to go after sellers who use the Kodi trademark to sell "fully-loaded" set-top boxes without permission.

    The organisation is working with rights holders and law enforcement agencies to target individuals manufacturing, importing, selling and re-selling these illegal devices.

    "We will issue trademark takedown notices anywhere we think the likelihood for confusion is high," Kodi product manager Nathan Betzen told TorrentFreak last year.

    "If you are selling a box on your website designed to trick users into thinking broken add-ons come from us and work perfectly, so you can make a buck, we're going to do everything we can to stop you."

    Several sellers in the UK have already been arrested and charged with breaching of the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act. Some have been fined while others have been given prison sentences

    The XBMC Foundation is also going after people posing as Kodi experts on YouTube who use the trademark without permission.

    "If you are making a video in which you claim to be a Kodi developer or Kodi team member or you are just using the Kodi name while assuring users that some pirate add-on is totally legal and isn't going to break next week, we will do everything we can to take you down," said Betzen.

    "Most of all, we are tired of a thousand different salesmen and YouTubers making money off ruining our name.

    "And there are even more people out there seeking to make a quick buck by selling ads on videos about getting free movies and TV while using Kodi in their channel name to make their content seem official, as if those videos are coming from us."

    Digital Rights Management

    Kodi's other approach is to offer support for Digital Rights Management (DRM).

    DRM is a technology that enables content publishers to enforce their own access policies on content, such as restrictions on copying or viewing.

    It is unpopular with consumers, as it effectively reduces the usability of the content by making it more difficult to duplicate or play back on different types of devices.

    However, the XBMC Foundation believes that adding "low-level DRM" to its platform could help it gain trust from content publishers, by allowing them to offer their videos in a protected environment.

    "We work hard every day to distance ourselves and Kodi from all the piracy related talk," the organisation wrote in a blog post .

    "Unfortunately, the buzz surrounding Kodi and piracy is so great that content publishers don't want to work with us.

    "From our perspective, supporting low-level DRM is a first step to changing that."

    It added that the technology for playing DRM content would not be built into Kodi itself.

    Rather, the XBMC Foundation would attempt to create an interface between Kodi and existing software in Android and Chrome that is capable of playing DRM content.

    This would allow Android or Chrome to handle the DRM, while video playback and control would remain with Kodi.

    "Combine that with a specific provider add-on and you could access Netflix, HBO Go or your favorite legit content provider from inside Kodi," it said.

    It's a controversial idea - and one that the XBMC Foundation admits might be unethical - but it could help to bring legitimate content providers on board.

    Kodi's pledge

    Despite these measures, Kodi promises that it will never require DRM to work, nor will it ever be a "locked" software.

    In an attempt to reassure users, it has made the following promises:

    • Kodi will never provide content, DRMed or not;
    • Kodi will never stop working with your content;
    • We will never prevent you from using Kodi as you so choose;
    • We do not condone, condemn, encourage or recommend any particular use of Kodi.

  6. #6
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010

    Servidores UK

    Anyone caught streaming TV shows, films and sports events illegally using websites, torrents and Kodi add-ons could technically face a decade behind bars.

    However, the new law will most likely target individuals and groups making a business out of selling illegal content.

  7. #7
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010

    Lobbied by copyright owners, the government is briefing against Kodi boxes

    Open source TV app inspires full-blown copyright panic in the UK

    Descended from Xbox Media Center software, it's a crime wave to copyright cops.

    Adam Banks (UK)

    You know a technology's gone mainstream when the tabloids start yelling about it. This year the Sun, the Mirror, the Express, and the Daily Star have run splashes ranging from "Kodi Crackdown" through "Kodi Killers" to "Kodi TOTAL BAN!". It's not that they've stumbled on an underground hack scene; the stories have been briefed by copyright owners and law enforcement agencies. So what is Kodi, and why is it such a threat to The Man?

    Kodi is an open source media player program that started life as XBMC (Xbox Media Center). Today, running on a variety of devices, it provides a friendly interface to play video and audio content, whether from static files, torrents, or a live stream.

    In 2014, Nathan Betzen, a leading figure in XBMC's community, announced that the software was changing its name to Kodi, a registered trademark. "Users have been fooled into wasting money buying boxes running hacked and typically broken versions of XBMC," explains Betzen, who's known online as natethomas. Now at least these couldn't be sold under the Kodi name.

    But the problem hasn't gone away.

    Kodi itself provides an interface but no content. Anyone can create add-ons that point to video and audio sources. The XBMC Foundation provides a list of recommended add-ons that may not be endorsed by content owners, but only link to content that's legitimately available. The iPlayer WWW add-on, for example, reminds BBC iPlayer users they need a TV licence.

    Hundreds of other add-ons, however, offer unauthorised access to paid content. For consumers, it's a tempting way to get box-sets and films for free. For the entertainment industry, it's a nightmare.

    Betzen tells Ars that he and his colleagues don't condone illegal use, but don't have the time or resources to "play whack-a-mole." They could disable unapproved add-ons, mimicking iOS' "walled garden," but "there's a reason only Apple can get away with it: you have to have a huge, rich, die-hard user base for developers to think it's worthwhile." Even then, because Kodi is open source, wrongdoers could just fork it and remove the protections.

    Illicit use of Kodi has reached a point where the UK government's Intellectual Property Office issued a "Call for Views," which closed in April, to find out how law enforcement agencies were dealing with infringing use. They use the term "IPTV," but also refer specifically to Kodi.

    No conclusions have yet been published, but three basic enforcement approaches are possible: shutting down suppliers of boxes, cutting off illegal streams, and going after end users.

    What Kodi possibly go wrong?

    Kodi is simple to download and install, and add-ons can be found using search engines. It works on anything from a PC or Mac down to Android-based set-top boxes and even Raspberry Pis. Even so, setting it up isn't within the comfort zone of every consumer. That means there’s a demand for ready-to-use, pre-configured hardware.

    Android set-top boxes are widely available wholesale, and there's nothing unlawful about selling them with bare Android or with Kodi on top. What crosses the line is pre-installing add-ons for specific unlicensed content, creating what are known as "fully loaded" Kodi boxes.

    What's the scale of illegal Kodi use? On April 20, YouGov published a survey that suggested nearly five million people in the UK were using "pirated" streaming services of one sort or another, while more than half as many again planned to start using them. More than 800,000 users had cancelled a TV subscription. The implication is that pay TV companies stand to lose a substantial chunk of revenue.

    Kodi add-ons link to content that others have decrypted or duplicated. That's hard to stop, but on March 8 the High Court approved an order requiring BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media to block specified servers that were streaming Premier League football games, preventing anyone on their broadband services from accessing them. The same method could now be used to block other sources.

    At the other end of the chain, content owners are putting pressure on the supply of fully loaded boxes. As Ars reported on April 4, Amazon warned sellers at the end of March that "certain media players" had been "marked as prohibited." The move coincided with industry briefings on action against Kodi use. "[Retailers'] assistance in tackling this problem is a great help and we really appreciate it," the IPO tells Ars.

    The announcement delighted "Freddy T-Power," a Kodi user who campaigns against the "scam" of fully loaded box sales. "Yes!!!!! Finally My work of POSTING WARNINGS all over Amazon and Facebook for over a Year Hrs and Hrs Weekend after Weekend HAS PAID OFF!!" he posted on April 6. On May 1, Ars typed "fully loaded kodi" into the search box on Amazon’s UK website. It auto-completed "android box." The search produced 73 results; none seemed to contain any reference to illicit content.

    Ebay is a different matter. Quoted by the Sun on April 11, a spokesperson said: "We work with the police and regulators to ensure that all listings comply with the law. There are blocks in place to prevent the listing of illegal items, but we also constantly monitor our marketplace."

    On May 1, Ars searched Ebay UK for "fully loaded Kodi box" and got 211 results. "Fully loaded TV box" expanded this to 1,289. Some mentioned "Kodi" or "XBMC," while others used generic terms with Kodi version numbers. Splashed across many listings was the term "jailbroken," which has no technical meaning in this context but suggests access to unauthorised content.

    Prices range from under £25 to over £60, and many listings show services and films that aren't available free of charge. Despite providing different contact details, often in China, many sellers feature almost identical garish graphics. Kodi's Betzen says "it was always clear that the marketing images were stolen from each other, because half of them mentioned my own home town of Wichita or Colwich, Kansas, in the weather app." Pirates gonna pirate.

    Boxed in and banged up

    Last December, two people in the UK who had been selling IPTV boxes "loaded with infringing apps and add-ons allowing access to copyrighted content" to pubs and consumers were jailed for up to four years.

    It followed a private prosecution by FACT UK (the Federation Against Copyright Theft) and the Premier League, building on an investigation by the City of London Police's Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU). These suppliers were charged with conspiracy to defraud, a broad and inchoate offence. That's often a sign that the authorities are struggling to find a law that has been broken. More specific charges, though, are beginning to stick.

    Section 296ZB (1) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) provides that "A person commits an offence if he manufactures for sale or hire, or… sells or lets for hire… any device, product or component which is primarily designed, produced, or adapted for the purpose of enabling or facilitating the circumvention of effective technological measures." Often referred to as "technical protection measures," or TPM, these can include anything that stops a telly fan watching content without paying.

    Malcolm Mayes of Hartlepool pleaded guilty in March to a charge under the CDPA after selling Kodi boxes adapted to receive content such as Premier League matches for an eyebrow-raising £1,000 apiece. He had advertised the boxes as "100% legal." They weren't. Mayes was ordered to pay a total of £250,000 and received a 10-month suspended sentence.

    Brian Thompson of Middlesbrough faces similar charges at Teesside Crown Court this month. Paul Fleming, defending, told an earlier hearing the criminal court might not be "the correct forum" for what was really a civil matter. That argument looks harder to make since a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on April 26 confirmed that distributing boxes modified to access infringing content amounted to an unauthorised "communication to the public" of copyright works which would "adversely affect the normal exploitation of those works."

    Pubs are a favoured target of FACT. Subscriptions allowing them to screen live sports are expensive, making Kodi boxes attractive. John Hewitt, landlord of the Navigation in Middlesbrough, who was prosecuted in October 2016, told the Teesside Gazette: "Anyone can access this. If we don’t have the match on at the pub, someone could be watching it on their phone. If I lose, everyone with a mobile phone will get done."

    He did lose. Could he be right?


  8. #8
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010
    Beer goggles

    There's an urban myth that watching streamed content without paying for it isn't copying. In fact, this was covered by section 297 (1) of the CDPA years before digital streaming. A person commits an offence if they "dishonestly receive a programme included in a broadcasting service provided from a place in the United Kingdom with intent to avoid payment of any charge applicable to the reception of the programme."

    Ars asked the IPO if any viewer had ever been prosecuted under this law. It couldn't say. There are no central records of magistrates' courts' judgments in England, but as recently as 2015 FACT didn't know of any cases, and we couldn't find any reported. But section 286ZA also applies the EU-wide prohibition on circumventing TPM to individual users.

    "We know most people are law-abiding as long as they are clear what they are and are not allowed to do," the IPO tells Ars. But are the rules clear? Ars spoke to a Kodi user, also in the north east of England. He'd been given an Amazon Fire TV Stick by a friend with Kodi installed along with add-ons "covering my specific interests of movies, documentaries, sport, and music." He had then sought out and installed Sports Devil, an add-on offering live TV streams of events including Championship matches.

    "I never gave much thought to legality," he says, assuming that the software was just showing him existing free content. He saw the difference between using the box and buying a Sky Sports subscription as a "personal choice."

    "They're playing King Canute anyway," he reckons, predicting that in the long term all fixtures would be available to watch free of charge. He also used Kodi to play Internet radio streams, which is entirely legal.

    In principle, this user could face prosecution under CDPA 1988 or civil action by copyright owners. Beyond the add-ons listed by Kodi, we asked Betzen how consumers could know which sources were legitimate.

    "There are two pretty simple clues that a stream is pirated," he tells Ars. First of all, "if it's too good to be true. If a service is offering a movie that's still in theatres, common sense dictates you're watching a pirate stream." Again with the "common sense"—but do consumers really have a Mark Kermode-like knowledge of film release schedules?

    Betzen's second red flag is: "It doesn't work, or buffers a lot even if you have a good Internet connection." Ars has plenty of experience of waiting for spinning wheels even on the branded boxes supplied by leading paid-for TV services. But in these unauthorised feeds, "the movie is listed several times, so if the first link doesn't work, you can try another. That's a dead giveaway."

    Our user was familiar with this. "It's easy to find multiple sources for something like a trending movie or live sports, but getting an actual working stream" can cause "considerable frustration." Maybe the reliability of legitimate services could be their best defence against illicit IPTV.

    Line crossed?

    FACT says half its open cases concern Kodi-type devices. Will it pursue individual viewers? Director general Kieron Sharp, a former City of London police officer, tells Ars: "We think [prosecution would be] a very strong stance, but we're not going to shy away from it." Records seized from distributors include customer details, so "[although] we haven't got a strategy to deal with end users, they might get swept up in our investigations.

    "Telling people they shouldn't be doing this is an educational message, but [we may need] some means of deterring them from doing it in the future."

    In February, FACT's Nick Matthew said: "Your average person in the street knows that if you can access BT Sports or Sky Movies without paying those companies, you’re probably doing something wrong." We put it to Sharp that our interviewee didn't know. "That's a very naive position to take. I don't think they can possibly seriously believe it's not a problem to be getting something for free."

    Yet lots of free content is legal. In response to Ars' queries, FACT suggests users turn to for legal sources. Curiously, this site provides no information about who operates it—the first thing a responsible user would check. It's actually owned by the Industry Trust for IP Awareness Limited, which shares its address with several entertainment industry bodies.

    Ars searched for a favourite show, Line of Duty, and was given links to buy or rent previous series of the gripping cop drama. No links were provided for the current season. It's available free of charge on BBC iPlayer. And via Kodi.

  9. #9
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010

    'Free TV' Android boxes finding their way into Canadian households

    'It's the ease of use that's really the game-changer. It's just plug and play.' - Dan Deeth, Sandvine

    The devices come pre-loaded with software that makes it easy to pirate movies and shows

    Sophia Harris
    May 04, 2017

    Forget illegal downloading; many Canadians are getting hooked on unauthorized streaming, according to a new study. This emerging type of piracy often involves a simple box running an Android operating system that's loaded with special software.

    Connect it to your TV, and you can easily stream a vast selection of pirated movies and TV shows — even live television, including sports.

    Dealers sell the boxes for a one-time fee, typically around $100, with the promise of "free TV."

    Content creators and providers fear the Android boxes are growing in popularity. Now Waterloo, Ont., tech company Sandvine offers insight into the device's appeal.

    The broadband equipment company monitored the home internet traffic of tens of thousands of Canadian households over the course of a month.

    It found that more than seven per cent of them were using software called Kodi enhanced with add-ons or apps to stream content without paying for it.

    The software can be downloaded and used on many devices, including computers and some smart TVs. But Sandvine estimates that most of the households were using it on an Android box to stream the pirated material to their televisions.

    "It's not an insignificant amount of people if you think how many households there are in Canada," says Sandvine spokesperson Dan Deeth about the Canadians engaging in what he calls "the new face of piracy." Seven per cent of the 15.4 million households in Canada is more than one million.

    It's so easy

    Deeth says the loaded Android boxes are attractive because they make it easy to stream free, pirated content on any TV.

    "It's the ease of use that's really the game-changer," he says. "It's just plug and play."

    The boxes are pre-loaded with Kodi — an entirely legal open-source program that turns the device into a media player much like Apple TV.

    Customers can then add legitimate add-ons such as YouTube and Netflix to stream content. But they can also use other, unofficial apps that provide access to almost limitless pirated content on the internet.

    Users only need to click on a link to stream their favourite shows or movies on their TV. If one link doesn't work, they simply opt for the next.

    "It works OK. Not flawless, but it works good enough for the price, and it's pretty easy to navigate," says Deeth. "You don't need a PhD in computer engineering."

    Robert Sokalski in Winnipeg agrees. "You just plug it in the TV and it generally works," he says.

    Sokalski pays for a cable subscription. But he also has an Android box loaded with Kodi and unofficial add-ons such as Exodus and Specto. The add-ons enable him to access, for free, Hollywood movies like Logan — which is still in theatres — or shows he can't access on his TV plan, like Game of Thrones.

    Sokalski says that not all content available is top quality, but it beats a paid streaming service like Netflix when it comes to selection.

    "It has multiple times more content than Netflix does," he says."You can find a lot of stuff."

    The growing appeal of the boxes has raised concern from many parties — from Kodi developers to those who are creating or distributing the content and not getting paid for it.

    Last year, Bell, Rogers and Quebec's Vidéotron launched legal action against at least 45 Canadian dealers selling loaded Android boxes.

    The three cable giants — which all produce and distribute content — want to stamp out the Android box industry. They have already won a temporary injunction, preventing targeted dealers from selling their loaded devices until the case is resolved.

    "These boxes are illegal, and those who continue to sell them will face significant consequences," Bell spokesperson Marc Choma told CBC news in March.

    However, even with the ongoing court case, Android box customers report that the loaded devices are still easy to find in Canada.

    "I can go Kijiji and get one here in twenty minutes if you want one," Sokalski told CBC News.

    Considering the appeal of the boxes and their prevalence, Deeth says shutting down the business will take more than legal action.

    He believes education is also required, along with the offer of more low-cost streaming services so that people don't have to subscribe to cable to watch their favourite shows.

    "There's probably no single way to stomp this out," he says.

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