Kodi WARNING – Illegal streaming may lead to jail sentences – Beware

The popularity of Kodi continues its gush, however, it started to alert its users who use illegal add-ons to stream pirated content. They start to warn the users after the major illegal streaming jail sentences in HuGe Sky sports and BT Sports CRACKDOWN.

On a survey by the researchers, it has been found that in the UK over 5 million users make use of these streaming devices.

Is Kodi illegal?

Actually, Kodi is not illegal, but the third-party addon created by the developers provide you access to the pirated and illegal content. These add-ons enable you to stream even the premium content, sports, and movie for free. With that being said, Popular pay per view events is also being streamed on Kodi for free as said on kodippv.com. There is also no wonder that people are planning to stream UFC 229 on Kodi using different add-ons.

This kind of act affected the other service providers. So these third-party illegal add-ons are being targeted by government agencies, broadcasters, ISPs, and right holders.

You would be aware of the recent biggest jail sentence ever, related to the use of a Kodi-type device. Let’s see it a little more in detail.

The persons involved in the crime, John Dodds and Jason Richard, were proved guilty for the charges of conspiracy to deceive and sentenced by the UK judge.

Those two men sold hundreds of devices which enabled the customers to watch the Premier League through the unauthorized access of Sky Sports, BT Sports, and other illegal foreign channels. And the devices also regularly not working due to signal failure or failing to tune channels.

The person involved in crime are sentenced after the investigation done by the Premier League and FACT. It is mentioned that they have earned at least £1.5million by selling these devices.

The Premier League Director of Legal Services Kevin Plumb said: “This is a hugely significant judgment as it provides further evidence that selling these devices is illegal and can result in a prison sentence”.

” Advancement in technology has changed the way of experiencing the entertainment content. However, some users are pretending to pay for this content and find some alternative way to modify their hardware devices with software, illegal addon or apps, either in TV or Mobile apps, even before they have been aired, and subscription sports channels for free”.

“We hope that this verdict gets the message out, selling or using such devices is not worth to risk. You might think that you are bargaining if you buy a box or stick that is fully loaded with illegal stuff. However, you could also be helping to fund organized crime and bringing it into your community.”

Giles York, the Chief Constable, National Police lead for Intellectual Property added :

“The ISDs might appear to be a good thing, but in fact, it is a crime. we have seen a number of conditions like this and currently, work in going on to identify the groups in the UK who are making huge profits and avoiding tax and supplying poor and unsafe devices to the customers.”

This made a recent warning that some of the Kodi boxes could carry fatal potential risks. Based on this the Researchers conducted a series of product safety test on the number of popular Kodi-style streaming boxes. It is found that those boxes failed to meet the national electrical safety regulations.

Steve Curtler, The Product Safety Manager at Electrical Safety First, told the Independent:

“From this year, consumers who think to buy an illegal streaming device for Christmas need to remember that, when the plugin this device into their TV, are potentially putting themselves, their home and family in risk.”

“We warn anyone using these devices to unplug and stop using it immediately. It is no longer a grey area. Using such devices is considered as breaking the law, it is very much illegal and that they risk spending time behind the bars.”

Social media can be decidedly anti-social, but is software the answer?

Social media allows us to engage with folks all over the planet, whether we’re relating news of a social uprising or just discussing the latest episode of Game Of Thrones. But it can also bring out the worst in our behaviour. Is software the answer to the social media dilemma?

Twivo, the creation of 17 year old Jennie Lamere has got a lot of attention this week. It’s a plugin for Chrome that allows you to set keywords you’d like to block for a specified period of time. Once that time has elapsed, any and all mentions of those keywords will reappear in your Twitter stream, but during the blackout phase, in theory you’re protected. Twivo hasn’t rolled out to the masses just yet — most reports peg it as being in “demo phase”, which is fair enough given it was the result of an entry into a hacking event in Boston.

Plenty of apps allow you to stream Twitter according to key words, and even block those topics you totally don’t want to know about, but Twivo’s particular interest is in TV show spoilers. The idea is that, as an avid Doctor Who fan (nobody doubted that, did they?), I’d add, say, The Doctor, Clara, and perhaps Cybermen (in reference to this week’s Neil Gaiman penned-episode) to my Twivo filter list to run from early Sunday morning (to avoid UK screening time) until 8:30pm Sunday night (Sydney time), and avoid spoilers that way while still remaining engaged with social media.

Oh look. Here’s a tiny teaser clip the BBC put out. Obviously, don’t watch it if you don’t want the tiniest of spoilers.

http://youtu.be/tll-H3pqlv4

Twivo is an interesting idea, but I’m still a little wary about the particulars, both in terms of how the filtering might adversely work, but also in what it says about us as social media users.

Firstly, the filtering aspect. What happens, exactly, if I filter “Doctor”, and then the world is over-run by a plague of zombies, and “Doctor finds cure for Zombie plague but you must get to Martin Place now?” is massively retweeted? I won’t see it (presumably), and then I’ll be a shambling brain-slurper. Sure, that would solve my problems of what I’m going to wear tomorrow, or indeed what I’m having for dinner, but it’s hardly ideal.

That’s an example stretched to its beyond-logical limits, but still, word-based filtering is rife with potential problems. The classic here has always been for “safety” filters that can’t discern between pornographic searches for breasts, and people searching for information on breast cancer or cooking chicken parts. I can also recall (and I’m going back a way here) a filter that promised to be able to discern between skin tones so that mucky pictures and pictures of ladies in bikinis would be filtered separately. As I recall (one of my magazine colleagues did the legwork) it didn’t work… and, indeed, couldn’t tell if an Anne Geddes picture was pornographic or not.

In other words, letting machines do the thinking for us might not be the wisest course of attack.

Then there’s the social aspect of social media. I got into something of a heated argument around this last Sunday night with a fan group that, once upon a time (i.e quite some time back) I’d been the vice president of with regards to spoilers and the time differences across Australia. I figured it’d be better for an Australian-wide group to perhaps hold off social media discussion until it had aired in WA. They admitted it was an issue, and one they’d discussed in some detail, but the membership had spoken, and immediate (that is, immediate Eastern states) tweeting it was. As I say, I was involved with them quite some time ago, so I wasn’t part of those discussions; it just seemed odd to me that they’d go down that route. We agreed to disagree on that topic… but it remains. There’s no absolute agreed statute of limitation on spoilers, on the one hand, and it utterly sucks to have something spoiled for you. Before you ask: First world problem? Absolutely.

On the other hand, humans are social creatures, and the power of social media is in the discussion aspect of it. Social media straddles an interesting space where it’s partly very narrowcast (in the way that you could run, say, a spoiler-filled forum, because you’re following those who interest you) and equally exceptionally broadcast. Get Stephen Fry to retweet something with a link in it, and watch the servers melt down. Not all of us have Fry’s immense power, but a single tweet can travel a very long way — and spoil things for those who may have otherwise enjoyed them.

The other standard response here is that “you shouldn’t be on social media until then”, but I don’t buy that entirely. Maybe for live sporting events, but not for things with shuffled broadcast availability. Heck, even if you do go down the pirate route, different people will have different times that their downloads finish.

There’s no easy answer, but what do you reckon? Do you filter your Twitter stream already? Do you run screaming from social media of all types while programs you care about (but can’t see for whatever reason) are screening? Is there a reasonable statute of limitations on spoilers generally?

Piracy lawsuits in Australia: Am I at risk?

Australia is, according to the figures, a nation of content pirates with a particular taste for Game Of Thrones. The issue of whether or not you’ll face legal action is back at the fore again with lawyers seeking out individual Australian user’s details. Should you be worried?

Delimiter reports on the move by Marque Lawyers, which is apparently petitioning a number of Australian ISPs for details pertaining to individual users, presumably then so they can instigate legal action against them in some fashion. It’s a good precis of where we are on the subject, and worth reading before continuing on.

Now, copyright infringement/piracy is an issue that many online see as a victimless crime because, variously, the content creators charge too much, or they lock it away as an “exclusive”, or simply because big entertainment conglomerates are big, or whatever.

I don’t agree with that, but then that’s a circular road that I’ve been down plenty of times beforehand.

The other issue, though, is that people are bold in their piracy because they see it as an effectively anonymous crime. It’s why those rather annoying anti-piracy ads used to scream about not stealing cars.

Most people would be embarrassed to be outright labelled as “thieves”, unless they could justify it to themselves as being some kind of moral stand for whatever reason — see, again, victimless crimes above. But people are bold; they not only tend to pirate, but they tend to boast about it, either in discussion about piracy, or by mentioning on social media that they’re watching something that hasn’t been on some form of legal broadcast in Australia.

It happens all the time, to the point where it’s been utterly normalised for a large segment of the population.

The lawsuits do bring up the fact that, while you might think you’re anonymous online, the reality is that this is very rarely actually 100 per cent true. At the endpoint, you’re only connected to the Internet because you’ve got a recognisable IP address. Yes, you can mask that to an extent, and there are always going to be arguments over who at a given IP address engaged in copyright infringement, but then if you’ve commented on, say, Game Of Thrones an hour before Foxtel’s started broadcasting it, you’re not exactly being subtle about it, are you?

The other big issue with online piracy is that it’s big — that is, there are significant numbers actually engaging in piracy, and not enough in the way of resources to chase them all down. That does lessen the risk in a mathematical sense, but it won’t matter a lick of difference in terms of damages if you are the one to be prosecuted. It’s not clear from this latest legal adventure quite what the IP rights holders would seek in damages, but there’s scope for them to be substantial.

That’s always been a bit of a public perception sticking point when it comes to chasing legal solutions, because a headline like “Single mother forced to pay $11,000,000,000 for downloading one Justin Beiber song” doesn’t look good for anyone. Least of all her, because, let’s face it, she’s suffered enough listening to the song in the first place. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen as a cautionary case, though.

So what should you do? It’d be easy to say “don’t pirate content”, and as someone who creates content for a living, it’s a viewpoint I’d strongly advocate for — but I’m not going to be hypocritical and say that I’ve never watched pirated content. It’s a terribly common thing, and as noted above, one that’s viewed as quite normal and acceptable. Again, I’ve written about this kind of thing before. But the reality right, now, especially in light of the fact that the copyright case against iiNet didn’t go in AFACT’s favour is that end consumers pirating content are the next step in the chain for copyright holders to pursue. Which means you, if you’re pirating content, and presuming that they’ll never target just you is just that little bit less certain than it was yesterday.

Equally, if you do want to take up the “moral” stance to justify piracy, there’s a much better avenue than pirating it in the first place, because all you’re doing there is confirming demand, as well as placing yourself at slight legal risk. Stop watching, stop supplying the end cash be it in sales or ad viewing, and make public noise about it and why.

To take the Game Of Thrones example, if you don’t like the Foxtel exclusive on it, send messages to HBO making it clear. There’s a clear and pressing need for a more 21st century approach to content availability, even though it’s unlikely we’ll all agree on what a “fair” price is any time soon.

What I think of as “fair” is apparently too much for many, including plenty of tech journos I’ve discussed it with.

Still, hit a big entertainment company in its hip pocket while making it clear they’re actually losing viewers and they’ll listen. Pirate it, and (at least for now) they’re within their rights to chase you down in a legal context, while remaining sure that there’s still an audience.

Opinion: Do we really need more mobile operating systems?

Ubuntu OS is due to be workable by the end of the month. Firefox OS is chasing fast behind it. In a smartphone world dominated by Apple and Android, with Blackberry and Windows Phone nipping at their heels, is there really space for other contenders, and do they really matter?

The tl;dr version for those with low attention spans: Probably not, and yes.

But hopefully that will have got your attention, at the very least. If you’re in the market for a new mobile device, be it a tablet or a smartphone, I’d still strongly advise you look at the incumbents first; iOS, Android, Windows. The order of preference you give those is up to you and dependent on your needs.

Still, more options for mobiles are emerging. Ausdroid reports on the imminent launch of Ubuntu Touch, due to be “workable”, according to developer Rick Spencer, by the end of May.

Then there’s Firefox OS. Mozilla’s been busy courting developers for its own low cost phone initiative. At one point it looked as though we may see them through Telstra, bringing yet another challenger to the mobile smartphone space.

So do either stand the proverbial snowball’s chance of gaining Australian market traction? Frankly, I’ve got to say that I doubt it. There’s already heavily established user bases for the predominant smartphone platforms, and, as yet, there’s not so much tied into these new platforms that shows a real point of difference that’s likely to significantly sway the mass market.

Consumers — especially mass market tech consumers — are pretty reluctant to adopt change, and indeed are often a little belligerent when it’s foisted on them. Windows 8’s touch interface has been rather controversial, because it changed the Windows experience so many were used to. Whenever Facebook unveils a new look, there’s a steady outcry to go back “to the old one”, although after around six months I reckon if you put the old Facebook up, users would complain just as long and just as loud that the new features were “missing”. As such, any new smartphone platform has its work cut out for it. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try, and it’s not as though I’m claiming mystic powers of prediction. Still, within the Australian context I can’t see Ubuntu-based phones or Firefox OS ones taking a significant share.

The thing is, though, that doesn’t really matter, but the operating systems underneath them do.

In the case of Ubuntu OS, it’s a pure hacker project, and one that could reap rewards much further down the track. It’s not necessarily about whether in six months time we’ll all be running Ubuntu phones. Frankly, right now, it’s for the tech enthusiast space, and those who’d be willing to put up with a lot of potential instability and revisions as they go. If you’re in that space, it’s an interesting effort that might not become dominant, but gives you further flexibility with the hardware you already own.

That’s the importance here; I’m firmly of the belief that once you hand over the money for the hardware, it’s yours. That doesn’t mean you can reflash it, brick it and expect Google (or Apple, or Blackberry, or Microsoft) to replace or repair it, but, in accepting risks, you can do what you like with it. Use it as a remote desktop, use it to develop other Linux applications, heck, even use it as a toothbrush.

Hang on, no. Not that last one. My dentist told me not to.

In the case of Firefox OS and its open source underpinnings, it’s the same case, but it’s also one that’s not precisely pitched at the Australian market in any case. Firefox OS phones are meant to be uber-cheap phone options, and while that could have some traction in, say, supermarkets, where I constantly see cheap Huawei phones for sale at the registers, it’s more about capturing market share in markets that are still evolving into the smartphone space. Here in Australia we’re already there, but there are plenty of places where that’s not true.

Technology innovation is all about taking risks. It could well be that neither platform is around in any real way in twelve months time. Remember WebOS? Yeah…

But equally, it could be that small innovations, on the edge, where users are a little more willing to put up with the weird and wacky (and sometimes unstable) could bear rich fruit, while not aggravating the main consumer core that finds itself far more resistant to that kind of change.

 

Intel: Silicon, Wearable Computing and Quark

At its Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, new Intel CEO Brian Krzanich detailed the chip giant’s vision for the mobile future, including wearable computing, an update to Atom processors, and Quark.

Krzanich formally announced Bay Trail, the latest in the Atom series of processors — if you’ve ever used a netbook or some Windows tablets, you’ve run into Atom beforehand. Bay Trail is Intel’s first 22nm system-on-a-chip (SOC) for mobile devices and is, according to Krzanich, just the start point.

“Smartphones and tablets are not the end-state. The next wave of computing is still being defined. Wearable computers and sophisticated sensors and robotics are only some of the initial applications.”

Mobile’s been an interesting space for Intel, because while it’s the dominant player for notebooks, it’s been racing ARM in the tablet and smartphone spaces. If you own a tablet or smartphone, the odds are exceptionally good that it’s running ARM rather than Intel’s silicon.

As such, it’s not surprising that Intel’s putting a lot of resources into the problem; Krzanich also showed off Intel’s next gen LTE silicon in the form of the Intel XMM 7260 modem, running on an Intel Atom processor, although it wasn’t a Bay Trail device; instead it was using the next generation after Bay Trail, currently codenamed “Merrifield”. Processor technology just runs that fast; by the time you’re announcing one product, the next one is already heavily in the development phase.

Then there’s Quark, which is in some ways Bay Trail’s little brother — and by little I mean tiny. Quark will be a low powered SOC roughly one fifth the size of the current Atom range, but using one tenth of the power. The idea is that Quark will run inside wearable computing and “Internet of Things” devices that don’t need a lot of pure processing power — because they’l be passing those kinds of tasks onto heftier processors — but need to be lightweight and have excellent power draw characteristics. Quark reference samples won’t arrive until the end of the year, so it’ll be 2014 at the very earliest before we might see Quark-based wearable gear.

I’m at IDF in San Francisco for the rest of the week, so I’ll have more on Bay Trail and Intel’s future direction over the next couple of days. But finally — Intel uses strange metaphors to entice staff: