Digital boxes used to stream TV and movies could soon be declared illegal in a landmark ruling.
While the boxes themselves are legal, a court case brought against a man who is facing allegations of selling them 'pre-loaded' to receive certain movies and TV streams could decide whether or not they become outlawed.
The boxes themselves are effectively legal, but the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) recently announced that the box would be added into an investigation into streaming practices.
Is Kodi legal now?
It’s a big grey area.
The confusion around the legality of the boxes is so great that it could take a court case involving Middlesbrough resident Brian Thompson to help settle it, GazetteLive reports.
Mr Thompson is thought to be the first man brought to court to face allegations of selling pre-loaded Kodi or Android boxes.
The boxes themselves are, effectively, legal.
But realistically, the only reason you would ever want one is it if was bought either pre-loaded or altered in order to watch PPV content.
This content can range from Sky Sports to films currently in the cinema.
That, claims prosecutors, is illegal.
So when will we know?
Thompson entered not guilty pleas at Teesside Magistrates’ Court, and a trial is expected to start before a judge on May 8.
Before that he will appear for a pre-hearing in January.
But even if he loses the trial, Brian has already said he intends to fight any decision - even hinting he could take the fight to Europe.
That could result in a lengthy court process which could drag out a definitive ruling on the devices.
So, we simply don't know.
Are there any other similar legal cases?
One has just finished, and resulted in one man receiving a four year jail sentence for conspiracy to defraud.
In what was first to be the first sentencing of its kind, Terry O’Reilly was handed the tough term for flogging over 1,000 boxes to pubs.
The pubs used them to illegally stream Premier League football matches.
Following the result, Premier League Director of Legal Services Kevin Plumb said: “The courts have provided a clear message: this is against the law and selling systems which allow people to watch unauthorised Premier League broadcasts is a form of mass piracy and is sufficiently serious to warrant a custodial sentence.
“There can now be no doubt for consumers that these systems are illegal.”
So they are no longer on sale?
They are indeed on sale.
The case involving O’Reilly was for a conspiracy to defraud, a less serious charge than those Thompson is facing.
His charges, which his solicitor claimed was under an “unusual piece of legislation”, sees him accused of selling boxes “adapted for the purpose of enabling or facilitating the circumvention of effective technological measures”.
Oh, and there's a third charge involving “advertising a product to circumvent technological measures”.
That case focuses specifically on selling pre-loaded boxes.
Until that, or another similar case, has gone through the courts it is likely they will still be sold on the high street.
What’s happening in the pubs?
In October, bosses at the Navigation pub in Teeside were fined £8,000 after being caught streaming Boro matches through a Kodi box.
And in a show of support for Thompson, there is a sign up in the front window of Dr Brown’s warning that anybody who works for the FA, Sky, BT, the Premier League or its “servants” are pretty much barred.
It warns that anybody from those firms - who are leading the fight against pubs illegally streaming live footy - will face legal action if they set foot inside.
It states: “Any entrance by the above will be considered as trespass and as such any information gained would be by default.”
All of this is confusing, isn't it?
It is. But to sum up: Kodi in its unaltered form is perfectly legal, but certain add-ons do blur things.
If you’re already comfortable with watching streams on websites such as Putlocker, then using Kodi with particular add-ons is no different.
If you aren’t, it’s worth steering clear of many of Kodi’s most popular extensions.