THE ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION (EFF) is concerned about legal activity around piracy-enabled Kodi boxes and wants to know where the line is being drawn between companies that sell innocent platforms, the vagabonds that install add-ons onto them and the people who share pirated material.
Last week in the UK a man plead guilty to selling piracy-able boxes, but he wasn't happy about being singled out.
"These boxes are available from all over the place, not just me, but it's the downloading of software to watch channels that is apparently causing the problem," he said at the time.
"If I am found guilty and the court rules that I am breaking the law selling these boxes, I want to know what that means for people buying and selling mobile phones or laptops because the software is available for all of them."
The EFF is very concerned about this kind of thing and says it is watching as "The War on General-Purpose Computing Turns on the Streaming Media Box Community". It describes how Hollywood muscle is looking to crush open source software developers and development.
Open source smart TV software Kodi can access some infringing content streams. Now it's in a global copyright fight.https://t.co/V0MTKzqvN7— EFF (@EFF) October 2, 2017
"For most of the lifetime of Kodi since its release as XMBC in 2002, it was an obscure piece of free software that geeks used to manage their home media collections. But in the past few years, the sale of pre-configured Kodi boxes, and the availability of a range of plugins providing access to streaming media, has seen the software's popularity balloon—and made it the latest target of Hollywood's copyright enforcement juggernaut," wrote the EFF.
"We've seen this in the appearance of streaming media boxes as an enforcement priority in lawsuits that have been brought on both sides of the Atlantic to address the "problem" that media boxes running Kodi, like any Web browser, can be used to access media streams that were not authorized by the copyright holder.
"We've also seen it in the big TV networks' vehement, sometimes disingenuous opposition to the US law and regulations that mandate effective competition in the cable set-top box market ."
The EFF wants the courts to see the wider picture and not be swayed by bombastic Holywood lawyers into extending the reach of copyright enforcement.
"These lawsuits by big TV incumbents seem to have a few goals: to expand the scope of secondary copyright infringement yet again, to force major Kodi add-on distributors off of the Internet, and to smear and discourage open source, freely configurable media players by focusing on the few bad actors in that ecosystem," it added.
"The courts should reject these expansions of copyright liability, and TV networks should not target neutral platforms and technologies for abusive lawsuits." µ
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