Android TV boxes

Are Android TV boxes illegal?

In an effort to save money on entertainment costs, a lot of households have migrated from traditional cable and satellite packages to the ever popular Android TV boxes. It seems like a straightforward choice, make a one-off payment and you get to view your favourite TV shows and the latest movies. This does not make Android TV boxes illegal. The legality issue becomes a bit murky when retailers sell Android TV boxes with preinstalled apps that facilitate downloading or streaming of pirated content.

Android TV boxes
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Why is the situation murky

The situation is a bit murky because some of these apps are not the problem. An example is the very popular app called Kodi. This app is legal as it is a neutral streaming system. However, there are lots of third party add-ons that allow you to stream and download pirated content.

Some retailers sell “fully loaded” Android TV boxes that have these add-ons preinstalled. The Court of Justice of the European Union handed down a judgment on the matter on April 26, 2017. The judgment states, “The temporary reproduction on a multimedia player of a copyright-protected work obtained by streaming is not exempt from the right of reproduction“. This judgment was handed down in case against Mr Wullems who sold “fully loaded” Android TV boxes on a website called

The judgment also stated, “The Court also finds that temporary acts of reproduction, on that multimedia player, of a copyright protected work obtained by streaming on a website belonging to a third party offering that work without the consent of the copyright holder, cannot be exempted from the right of reproduction.”

Should the average person buy Android TV boxes?

The question is what does this mean for the average person who just wanted to save money?

It just means that for now, in the European Union, you cannot buy an Android TV box that is “fully loaded”. It is only a matter of time before the legality of preinstalled Android TV boxes comes up in other jurisdictions. But, if the ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union is an indication, then buyers beware.

If you are interested in reading the entire ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union in the Judgment of the Court (Second Chamber) of April 26, 2017 Stichting Brein v Jack Frederik Wullems click this link:

Share your views by commenting below.

May 2017

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