It seems strange on how busy the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office keeps itself with whatever is going on in the Kodi community.
Recently the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office came out with a report.
In the published report, the UK Intellectual Property Office gave its advice on how people should deal with illicit streaming devices.
We say illicit streaming devices, but actually, we should say so-called illicit streaming devices.
Regardless, the UK Intellectual Property Office noted the rightful importance of ensuring that all copyright holder groups had the opportunity to earn some money.
Moreover, the UK Intellectual Property Office warned the public that devices such as Android TV boxes along with Kodi boxes presented a real threat to child welfare.
According to the Uk Intellectual Property Office, Android TV boxes and Kodi boxes also presented a real electrical safety hazard to the general public.
Moreover, the UK Intellectual Property Office advised the people via the published report that if anyone had a Kodi box or Android TV box then they should wipe that device clean right now.
That is what the UK government wants you to do.
Should You Comply?
Of course, while other methods of acquiring high-quality free content like torrenting and P2P file sharing slowly simmer away in the background, unauthorized streaming has attracted a lot of online users to its model of sharing content.
The simple fact is that people want convenience.
And unauthorized streaming platforms and devices such as Kodi boxes and Android TV boxes provide that.
For a very small, one time, purchase.
Hence, Kodi streaming has become the go-to method for people to streaming content.
Millions of online users have started to use Kodi streaming boxes to basically engage in piracy all over the globe.
Previously, this phenomenon of online streaming didn’t attract much attention.
Because people could only access streaming devices via a good desktop web browser.
Now, streaming is available to all users on almost all ranges of devices.
You can stream high-quality content for free on any device.
You could do so via a tablet or your smartphone device.
As mentioned before, recently set-top box devices have started to take over the streaming community.
Law enforcement authorities such as the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office have started to brand these devices as illegal streaming devices.
Officially, they are calling it the ISD.
And perhaps that makes sense.
That’s why the entertainment industry has jumped on board and have adopted the new term.
That may well be enough for the UK government’s Intellectual Property office to adopt this terminology for all times to come.
As mentioned before, the UK government Intellectual Property Office published a new public advisory a couple of days ago.
The new IPO started off by describing what it considered as illegal streaming.
So what is illegal streaming?
Well, according to the UK Intellectual Property Office illicit streaming happens when an online user watches some premium content without the copyright owner’s permission.
And in doing so, the online user makes use of a variety of devices.
The IPO report also said that it considered illicit streaming devices as physical boxes that connected the user’s TV or USB sticks which plugged directly into the user’s TV.
Then the report mentioned some example devices such as modified Amazon Fire sticks and Kodi boxes.
They added Android TV boxes to the list of illicit streaming devices as well.
The IPO report also noted that these streaming devices didn’t come out of the box ready for service.
Usually, users needed to load these streaming devices with special software application add-ons which enabled them to view copyright-infringing high-quality content for free.
The IPO report also says that they didn’t consider all streaming devices as illegal.
In other words, the devices themselves had no fault of their own.
In fact, users who used these devices for legal purposes in order to watch legitimate, free to air, content did absolutely nothing wrong.
According to the IPO report, these devices become illegal streaming devices when users try to adapt them or modify them to stream illicit content.
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What does illicit content include here?
Illicit content includes TV programmes along with subscription-based sports channels and films.
Any streaming device that enabled users to watch premium and paid content without paying for the appropriate subscription packages fell within the circle marked as illegal streaming devices.
The IPO report also noted that users could only take advantage of these streaming devices in an illicit way if they used special software application add-ons with it.
These add-ons allowed users to view all types of copyright-infringing content.
However, the game has now gone beyond just add-ons.
According to the report, now online users could take advantage of native and dedicated apps to view TV shows and movies.
Where available, users could load these straight onto their tablets and/or smartphone devices.
How To Know If Your Device Is an Illegal Streaming Device or ISD?
That is exactly what most of us are wondering right now.
How would you know if your device is something the IPO considers as an illegal streaming service or not.
Well, the UK Intellectual Property Office has a solution for you.
According to the new IPO report, it all came down to what we know as common sense.
If you are watching or consuming content for free which normally other people have to pay for then your device is probably an illegal streaming device.
In other words, no one gets to watch high-quality content for free.
If your device allows you to do that it is definitely an illegal streaming device.
The IPO report also said that if the user made use of their devices to watch films, sporting events, and television programs where they normally would have to pay in order to view them and they hadn’t paid for the content, then the IPO would consider that as the user taking advantage of an illegal streaming device or an ISD app.
Now, a lot of devices and apps would fall directly into the ISD category.
The IPO has further guidelines as well.
If a film had its official release just recently and even people in the cinema hadn’t finished watching it or if you are watching a sporting event that is currently going live on other sports channels such as BT Sport or another television program such as Game of Thrones which people can only see via Sky in the UK, then the user is using an ISD device.
The message is clear enough.
The UK Intellectual Property Office also wants to familiarize the general public with some or almost all of the terminologies that it may want to use in the future.
In its efforts to do that, the IPO report also talked about the terms that illegal streaming devices on online shops such as Gumtree, Amazon, and eBay came with.
But here is the problem:
When you go about labeling devices and calling out “terms” then you are basically wandering into a slight minefield.
In other words, the UK Intellectual Property Office needs to make sure it provides enough clarification for the terms it considers as ISD related.
The first problem is that the government clearly stated in the IPO report that illegal streaming devices were often described by their sellers online as being Fully Loaded.
This, we know, is basically a colloquial term.
Colloquial term for what?
For any given device in which someone has already installed the required add-ons for streaming illegal content.
With that said, it is also true that not all such devices are intended to allow people to infringe copyrighted content.
But it is definitely the case most other times.
The majority of these devices are there on various online stores in order to attract people who want to infringe copyright content.
Hence, no one should have a problem with the UK Intellectual Property Office calling out terms such as Fully Loaded devices as another way of saying “Illegal streaming devices available here”.
However, the UK Intellectual Property Office also wants people to keep an eye out for various other terms.
One of them is Jail Broken.
Now, we know that the majority of readers who will come across the term Jail Broken would basically understand the term to mean a process where some particular hardware devices, mainly Apple products, go through modification procedures in order to gain compatibility with third-party software applications.
After the modification, users can run these third-party software applications on these Jailbroken devices.
It is true that sometimes, but only sometimes, a few of these illegal streaming device sellers do use the term Fully Loaded on their Android devices.
But that doesn’t mean this term is correct.
Or even appropriate.
If we are talking about the tiny minority, then yes, illegal streaming device sellers definitely use such terms.
As mentioned just now, these terms are indeed misleading.
And this is what the IPO report about illegal streaming devices warned about.
The report warned online users against devices which sellers market as Plug and Play.
Again, we have to see that this term Plug and Play has a dual use.
And the IPO report is doing the general public a disservice by warning against such terms.
No consumer should ever think about the term Plug and Play to always mean illicit streaming devices.
Whoever researched for the IPO report should have spent more time in gathering proper evidence.
Of course, via investigation.
That is probably the only way to see if Plug and Play is really such a damaging term.
To prove our point, all you have to do is go to eBay and search for the term Plug and Play devices.
Our research shows that you would not see any illegal streaming device in the search results.
Not even one.
The only devices you will see in the search results would be gaming consoles.
Gaming consoles which the users can simply Plug and Play without spending too much time setting them up.
Then the IPO talks about the term Subscription Gift.
This term is definitely a reference to an illicit streaming device or an IPTV device.
It could also refer to a satellite card-sharing subscription.
Our research shows that people, including sellers, rarely use the term Subscription Gift for anything other than illicit streaming devices.
Hence, terms such as Subscription Gift should indeed be considered illegal.
100% without a doubt.
Perhaps the government isn’t at a fault for trying to convince people with good reasons to avoid illegal streaming devices.
They do so for a variety of reasons.
The chief among those reasons is that these illicit streaming devices deprive the industry that produces that content of valuable revenue.
The IPO report said the same a couple of days ago.
It mentioned that the creative industries in the country provided employment for a lot of people.
The number of people it supported ran well over 1.9 million.
Moreover, the content creation industry contributed £84.1 billion to the country’s economy.
Therefore, using illicit streaming devices constituted engaging in an illegal activity.
The United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office report also mentioned that:
if the user did not pay for his/her content then the user deprived the industry of its revenue.
The industry needed that revenue in order to fund the next generation of TV programmes.
Along with sporting events.
And films that all people enjoyed.
Moreover, the report said that piracy provided funds for the organized criminals who sold or adapted these illegal streaming devices.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that:
the IPO has kept its danger-based narrative well in line with the entertainment industry.
The entertainment industry has always employed such narratives.
Hence, the UK government too is now warning people that illicit streaming devices damage the industry.
Not only that, these illicit streaming devices had a negative effect on child welfare as well.
Moreover, the report said, these illicit streaming devices presented a real physical safety hazard in the house.
The IPO report also warned people that these illicit streaming devices often lacked parental control features.
Hence using them could expose the user’s children or very young people to age-inappropriate or explicit content.
Additionally, the IPO report said that another important reason why consumers should avoid purchasing these illicit streaming devices was from a real electrical safety point of view.
In other words, these illicit streaming devices along with their power cables have not managed to pass the EU safety standards.
They have also failed other tests based on power cables.
Hence these illicit streaming devices had the potential to present a significant danger to the general public.
According to the IPO report, these illicit streaming devices could cause a fire in the user’s home or other premises.
No one can doubt the fact that if a device fails the EU electrical standards, then that is bad news.
It is unacceptable.
For any device, let alone an illicit streaming device.
But the problem is the recent headlines.
Recent headlines that state that Kodi boxes can actually kill people including their owners.
That is not true.
These headlines are sensational.
And nothing else.
Moreover, these headlines fail to present the whole picture to the user of these devices.
Illicit Streaming Devices Conclusion
Various media outlets reported last weekend that if some of these devices did not have a recognized brand then such devices automatically failed the electrical standards tests.
Moreover, other devices such as non-genuine smartphone chargers presented a greater safety risk to the public in the UK.
To be fair to the UK government, the IPO report did offer people some advice on how to get rid of illicit streaming device addiction.
And how to ensure how other people don’t benefit from such devices.
The IPO report said that these illicit streaming devices could be used legally by removing the nasty software.
It also said that if the user didn’t know what to do then that user should seek advice on how to use the device legally.
And if they wanted to watch content that was available via legal subscription such as sporting events then they should go ahead and approach the relevant provider in order to find out about all the legal ways one could watch these events and programs.