Kodi boxes, otherwise known as android boxes, are a small plastic box that allows users to more easily accessed streaming services at home. They are readily available through numerous retailers, and the legality or lack thereof has been shrouded in confusing precedents. Most recent wisdom has been based on the, “if you own a gun without bullets you can’t kill anyone,” theory. This says that a Kodi box without any software or third-party apps loaded onto it is just a small box with access to a centralised application. In other words, it’s empty so there is nothing for anyone to get upset about. However, if you purchase a, “loaded” box (one with access to shows or streaming technology already present on the device) then you put yourself in a position to be prosecuted.
Most recently, a store owner in the United Kingdom was given a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to selling more than 40 ‘Loaded’ Kodi boxes. Sounds simple enough – the boxes were loaded so he was breaking the law.
Except that the store owner claimed that he didn’t know he was doing anything wrong as no official legal precedent had been set. He also wanted to understand whether offering customers information on how they could load their own device after purchasing an empty one was illegal also. After all, sticking with the gun metaphor, if you sell someone a weapon without bullets but explain in detail how and where to get bullets then you are clearly assisting them in an illegal action.
But the judge decided to dodge this entire minefield by pointing out that there should be no confusion as to whether purchasing or selling a loaded Kodi box was illegal or not.
“If anyone was under any illusion as to whether such devices as these, fully loaded Kodi boxes, were illegal or not, they can no longer be in any such doubt,” said the judge, not answering the entire question, but just enough not to get himself in any legal tangles.
This debate will be one that will last for many years, especially as more advanced technologies become built into standard entertainment units. As to whether ownership of the weapon without the bullets is legal, at this stage, you will have to be the judge…unless you find yourself standing in front of a judge.