There’s many legal implications which will directly result from the UK’s decision to leave the European Union many of these will definitely be in the area of internet and copyright law. Take for example the discussions mentioned in our last post regarding the use of the increasingly popular Kodi media box.
Now Kodi is simply some software that allows you to stream video of any sort from a myriad of devices onto your TV screen. It’s fairly standard stuff however what makes Kodi so popular is the hundreds of add-ons that expand the capability of the software. These programs allow Kodi to stream all sorts of copyrighted material from Sky, BBC, BT and Netflix to name but a few. What makes it even more popular is that you can bypass the technical configuration required and by a pre-installed media box with all that done for you.
You can see why for the cost of one months subscription someone would be tempted to buy a full set up box capable of streaming every Sky Channel from movies to Sports. No subscriptions, no ongoing costs – just buy the box and stream for nothing. With many people’s Sky accounts costing about £20 a week it’s not surprising that they became so popular.
One of the main legal protections people have currently for using these Kodi installed media boxes is a ruling by the European courts that merely streaming copyrighted content (as opposed to copying it) was not illegal. So someone simply watching something as per Kodi, using a free smart DNS Netflix solution or a VPN then is not actually illegal currently. This has meant the copyright holders have pursued the sellers and distributors of these boxes rather than the individuals.
Of these perhaps the VPN is the safest option simply because you can firstly completely hide your location and the software functions without any specific configuration to download movies or films online. However the others you can easily argue are specifically designed to watch copyrighted material.
Many people have of course, been downloading movies and films online for decades however it is Kodi which has probably moved this into the mainstream. Downloading torrents anonymously like this takes a fair amount of computing knowledge – whereas buying a pre-configured Kodi box is no harder than setting up a DVD player. Which is why the UK’s Intellectual Property Office is taking such a keen interest, no doubt heavily pushed by the mainstream media companies of course.
It’s likely that using these devices will become illegal much more quickly as a result of Brexit as the IPO will have more direct powers and are not as constrained as the European courts. Also much of the legislation is already in place but just needs slight adjustments to encompass the people who use Kodi boxes to stream copyrighted material.