Brian Thompson of Middlesbrough has been given an 18 month suspended sentence for selling “loaded Kodi boxes”. Having previously claimed the law was unclear and pleaded not guilty Mr Thompson changed his plea and admitted one count of selling and one count of advertising devices “designed, produced or adapted for the purpose of enabling or facilitating the circumvention of effective technological measures”.

The boxes (which are not in themselves illegal) were pre-loaded with software which gave purchasers unauthorised access to copyrighted material. Mr Thompson advertised the boxes on the front of his store with a sign saying “Sick of paying monthly subscriptions? Free Sky, Virgin, Box Nation, Racing UK.” Mr Thompson made £40,000 from the illegal sales and it was estimated that the cost in lost revenue, to Sky alone, was £200,000.

When passing sentence, Judge Peter Armstrong said there could be no doubt now about the legality of the fully loaded boxes and added that “those who lawfully have to pay £50 a month or more on Sky or BT subscriptions, are done a disservice by people like you and those who buy these devices”. Whilst the Judge suspended Thompson’s jail sentence, he indicated that others in the future may not be so fortunate.

Cameron Crowe of Gough Square prosecuted.