Anti-piracy raids ramp up across UK as fully loaded Kodi box crackdown continues

Westminster City Council seizes 40 pre-loaded IPTV devices.

Westminster City Council has seized around 40 Kodi box-like devices.iStock

The ongoing crackdown on the sale of modified TV boxes pre-loaded with piracy add-ons has hit the UK's capital, with Westminster City Council confirming that it seized 40 Kodi-like IPTV devices that retailed online for around £100 each. A 53-year-old man was arrested as part of a raid on the seller's property on 12 July.

The raid marks the latest move in an effort to stem the rise of 'Kodi boxes' – an unofficial name given to devices used to illegally stream TV, movies and sport, usually via shady add-ons pre-installed on the otherwise legal Kodi platform.

The case follows a number of high-profile arrests made across the country as local councils, online retailers and media organisations look to halt the popularity of such devices.

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Five Kodi-related arrests were made in Bolton, Bootle, Cheadle, Manchester and Rhyl in early February, as well as a high-profile case in Middlesborough where a local shop owner pleaded not guilty after being accused of facilitating the circumvention of copyright protection by selling modified Kodi boxes in his store.

While independent high street and online retailers flogging the piracy-friendly boxes are likely feeling the pinch due to a sharp increase in police raids, a recent report from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) highlighted how so-called 'Kodi boxes' have effected piracy rates across the UK.

According to the data, as many as one in four Brits have accessed pirated content in the last three months alone. Another study by YouGov also that found 4.9 million adults in the UK regularly use modified IPTV devices, as well as streaming apps on smartphones and tablets that illegally offer free access to paid-for content.

Despite their continued popularity, the golden age of Kodi piracy could soon come to an end as add-ons and their creators have been rapidly shutting down in recent months due to the threat of financial and criminal penalties.

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