A surge of cheap media players, which often use the open source Kodi software, has made it easy for people to stream video from the Internet directly to their TVs.
The media players themselves are perfectly legal, and the Kodi software is too, but when these are loaded with pirate add-ons, legal issues arise.
Earlier this year the European Court of Justice ruled that selling or using devices pre-configured to obtain copyright-infringing content is illegal. With this decision in hand, anti-piracy group BREIN has pressured dozens of vendors to halt their sales, but the action hasn’t stopped there.
Aside from going after sellers, BREIN is also targeting people who make “pirate” Kodi builds, which are prepackaged bundles of add-ons.
“We are also going after people who are involved in illegal builds, those with add-ons for unauthorized content,” BREIN director Tim Kuik confirmed to TorrentFreak without highlighting any specific targets.
Thus far, the group has focused on three ‘pirate’ builds and settled with ten people connected to them.
BREIN settlements generally include an agreement not to offer any infringing material in the future. This is also the case here. The developers face a penalty of 500 euros per infringing link per day.
Aside from the Filmspeler (Film Player) judgment of the EU Court of Justice, BREIN’s actions also use the Geenstijl ruling as a basis. This confirmed that merely linking to copyrighted works without permission can be seen as infringement, especially when it’s done with a profit motive.
In addition to targeting developers, BREIN previously announced that it had successfully halted the infringing activities of 200 sellers of ‘pirate’ media players.
Despite BREIN’s efforts, there are still plenty of infringing players, builds, and add-ons circulating in the wild, even on eBay. However, with pressure from various sides, it has become increasingly risky for the people involved, which is a dramatic change compared to a year ago.