Online retailers eBay and Amazon both plan to crack down on the sale of so-called Kodi boxes used to illegally stream live Premier League matches.
The English top flight is suffering from increasing numbers of people buying set-top boxes that have software installed allowing them to watch games without paying a subscription to official rights holders.
These boxes often run the legal Kodi media player and are then loaded with third-party add-ons that provide users with access to the illegal streams, as well as pirated films and TV shows.
The sale of such devices has never been explicitly permitted by either eBay or Amazon, but they now appear set to respond to their rise in popularity by more actively seeking to remove listings offering them for sale.
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Amazon have even threatened to destroy such devices if they are found in the fulfillment centres sellers can use to store and ship their stock.
“Products offered for sale on Amazon should not promote, suggest the facilitation of, or actively enable the infringement of or unauthorized access to digital media or other protected content,” a statement from Amazon reads.
“Any streaming media player or other device that violates this policy is prohibited from sale on Amazon.
“It is your responsibility to source and sell products that do not promote, promise the facilitation of, or actively enable the infringement of or unauthorized access to digital media or other protected content.
“If you sell these products, we may immediately suspend or terminate your selling privileges and destroy inventory in our fulfillment centers without reimbursement. In addition, if we determine that your account has been used to engage in fraud or other illegal activity, remittances and payments may be withheld or forfeited.”
eBay, meanwhile, reiterated that they would work with the police to remove items that violate intellectual property rights and investigate the accounts responsible.
“We run several initiatives designed to combat the infringement of intellectual property rights, including the Verified Rights Owner Program,” a spokesman for the site told the Sun.
“We work with the police and regulators to ensure that all listings on eBay comply with the law. There are blocks in place to prevent the listing of illegal items, but we also constantly monitor our marketplace.
“Anyone found to be knowingly selling items that don’t comply with the law will be investigated and could face account restrictions or suspension.”
The use of Kodi boxes to watch Premier League football has been labelled an “epidemic”, and in March the league won a court order that reportedly permits it to take a new approach to shutting the streams down.
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Instead of blocking individual websites one-by-one, internet providers are now – according to multiple reports – able to target the entire servers responsible for hosting the streams, dealing with the cause rather than the symptoms.
Seeing as two of the major internet providers in the UK – Sky and BT – also own the rights to broadcast the Premier League on television, they will certainly be motivated to make use of these new permissions as quickly as possible.