Tutorials purporting to show How To Stream Sky Sports On Kodi have plagued YouTube
YouTube tutorials teaching Kodi users to pirate live content from the likes of Sky Sports, BT Sport, and more, is available to watch for free.
Searching YouTube for videos about streaming Sky Sports on the Kodi platform returns more than 150,000 videos.
Many of these boast thousands of views, but the most-viewed have 500,000 hits under their belt.
For those unaware, Kodi is a neutral, open-source media player which can be installed on a broad range of devices – from discount set-top boxes powered by Android, to well-known branded devices, like Amazon Fire TV Sticks.
Apps – known as add-ons – built by the passionate community of third-party developers allow users to stream premium content, like paid-for sports and movie channels for free.
So-called Kodi Boxes are devices, manufactured by a number of different brands, with all the requisite third-party software to stream paid-for content for free preinstalled on the set-top box.
Streaming paid-for content for free without the permission of the rightsholder is illegal.
And that’s exactly what scores of these YouTube tutorials are teaching Kodi novices to do.
Videos entitled “How To Watch Live Sports On Kodi 2017” and “How To Watch All Sky Sports & Bt Sports Channels On Kodi For Free – 100% Working” have thousands of views.
Express.co.uk approached Google, which owns YouTube, for comment on these videos.
YouTube is filled with tutorials revealing how to stream Sky Sports and other paid-for channels free
A spokesperson for YouTube told Express.co.uk, “We take protecting creativity online seriously and we’re doing more to battle copyright infringement than ever.
“YouTube respects the rights of copyright holders and has invested heavily in copyright and content management tools to give rights holders control of their content.
“When a copyright holder notifies us of a video that infringes their copyright, we remove the content promptly, and terminate the accounts of users with multiple copyright strikes.
“In addition, we offer tools such as YouTube’s Content ID system that gives rights holders an automated way to identify, block, promote and even make money from their content.”
Because of the sheer amount of content uploaded to YouTube every hour, the video hosting site often relies on the online community to flag content as inappropriate.
Earlier this year, research from FACT revealed that there are now one million Kodi Boxes in use across the UK.
The open-source Kodi media player can be installed on a range of different devices
The FACT research was conducted in association with the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit, Intellectual Property Office, Police Scotland, and anti-piracy outfit Entura International.
It estimated that up to 25 per cent of the online viewing public access content illegally online.
According to the FACT report, the UK is one of the countries most affected by the increasing demand for Kodi boxes.
Those supplying the Kodi Boxes range from individuals building boxes for a select few friends and family, to sprawling organised crime networks.
There has been a steady stream of reports of individuals who have been arrested for selling these devices, however, FACT claims these are just the “tip of the iceberg”.
According to FACT, there are a number of large-scale operations currently in the early stages.
However, the organisation is unable to specify any other details at the moment. The crackdown on so-called Kodi Boxes in the UK is likely to carry severe penalties.
Back in April, the EU Court of Justice judgement in the Filmspeler case included confirmation that streaming by end users on illicit set-top boxes, like those powered by Kodi, constitutes an infringement of copyright.
The Digital Economy Act, which came into effect in October 2017, extends criminal penalties for online copyright infringement to match those of physical copyright infringement.
That means the maximum prison sentence that can be awarded in online copyright infringement cases has increased from two years to 10 years.
This change could result in longer custodial sentences for the criminals involved in distributing illicit streaming devices.