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Digital Economy Act: Illegal streams could now land users in prison for 10 years

Authorities are becoming increasingly concerned about media players loaded with the open-source software and a variety of third-party add-ons

The Digital Economy Act has passed into law, meaning people could now face ten-year prison sentences for illegally streaming copyrighted content.

It covers a wide number of areas, including broadband speeds, access to online pornography and government data-sharing.

However, amid the rising popularity of streaming media boxes running software such as Kodi, an increase to the maximum prison term – from two years to ten – for people guilty of copyright infringement is particularly interesting.

Anyone caught streaming TV shows, films and sports events illegally using websites, torrents and Kodi add-ons could technically face a decade behind bars.

However, the new law will most likely target individuals and groups making a business out of selling illegal content, FACT CEO Kieron Sharp told the Mirror.

"I’m delighted the Digital Economy Act has become law," said Matt Hancock, the minister of state for digital and culture.

"This legislation will help build a more connected and stronger economy. The Act will enable major improvements in broadband rollout, better support for consumers, better protection for children on the Internet, and further transformation of government services."

Authorities and broadcasters are becoming increasingly concerned about media players loaded with Kodi and a variety of third-party add-ons that provide free access to copyrighted content.

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Police Scotland recently claimed that “criminal gangs” have started selling media players pre-loaded with Kodi and a variety of third-party add-ons, because they see it as a less risky area of crime.

“This is now seen as being normalised,” said Chief Inspector Mark Leonard, Police Scotland’s lead on counterfeiting.

“A family will sit and watch one of these IPTV devices.”

Amazon and the Premier League are also cracking down on illegal streams fed to media players running Kodi.

Online Editors