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It's illegal to sell streaming boxes with piracy add-ons, EU court rules

It's illegal to sell streaming boxes with piracy add-ons, EU court rules

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The European Union’s Court of Justice has ruled that selling set-top boxes specifically configured for easy film and TV piracy is illegal. In a ruling published today, the court sided against a man identified as Mr. Wullems, who sold multimedia players through the site While the underlying technology of the players might be legal, the ruling says, these boxes were configured in a way that promoted piracy — and the fact that they’re for streaming media instead of downloading it doesn’t make a difference.

Wullems’ set-top boxes offered direct links to pirated material, which constituted making a copyright-infringing “communication to the public,” according to the ruling. He had “full knowledge of the consequences of his conduct,” and was selling the boxes for a profit. In some cases, it’s legal to temporarily reproduce a copyrighted work, which is what providing a stream does. But the court says that piracy-friendly boxes don’t meet the requirements for this exemption, because their transmissions adversely affect the actual copyright holder.

As TorrentFreak notes, Filmspeler is one of many services selling Android-based set-top boxes equipped with software like Kodi. While Kodi is a neutral and legal streaming system, there are lots of add-ons that provide pirated media, and it’s a very popular use case for the platform. Filmspeler and similar sites provide “fully loaded” boxes that include these add-ons by default. A Dutch court asked the EU Court of Justice to rule on their legality back in 2015; now, it’s handed down a clear condemnation of them.