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27th Apr 2017

Bad news for people who use “dodgy boxes” to watch TV

Alan Loughnane

The EU has had its say…

We may well be seeing the end of the sale of “dodgy boxes” very soon following a ruling the European Court of Justice.

On Wednesday, the court made the ruling that the sale of devices such as Android boxes, which offer access to streaming sites for pirated movies and TV shows, constitutes a breach of copyright.

A common defence for the sale of such products is that, as well as having the ability to illegally stream movies and sports, the boxes can also carry out a host of other legal functions, and that the seller cannot be responsible for people using the products for illicit functions.

But the EU ruling has clarified the issue, stating that sellers are going above and beyond simply supplying the product to buyers, but rather they’re directly facilitating the illegal act of streaming copyrighted material.

“The sale of a multimedia player [that] enables films that are available illegally on the internet to be viewed easily and for free on a television screen could constitute an infringement of copyright,” the ruling reads.

The case in the court revolved around an incident in the Netherlands where a seller was pre-supplying the software on the devices to allow buyers to stream movies illegally.

“Streaming websites are not readily identifiable by the public and the majority of them change frequently,” said the court.

This could have sellers rethinking their policy on how they sell their boxes from now on, but there’s no word yet on the impact it could have on boxes already sold.