Kodi magazine 'directs readers to pirate content'

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The Complete Guide to Kodi on a newsstand
Image caption,
The Complete Guide to Kodi is on sale at a number of retailers

A British magazine is directing readers to copyright-infringing software, the Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact) has said.

Kodi is a free, legal media player for computers - but software add-ons can make it possible to download pirated content.

The Complete Guide to Kodi magazine instructs readers on how to download such add-ons.

Dennis Publishing has not yet responded to a BBC request for comment.

The magazine is available at a number of retailers including WH Smith, Waterstones and Amazon. It was spotted on sale by cyber-security researcher Kevin Beaumont.

It repeatedly warns readers of the dangers of accessing pirated content online, but one article lists a series of software packages alongside screenshots promoting "free TV", "popular albums" and "world sport".

"Check before you stream and use them at your own risk," the guide says, before adding that readers should stay "on the right side of the law".

Police discussions

A spokesman for Fact said the body was working with the City of London Police's Intellectual Property Crime Unit (Pipcu) as it made enquiries.

"We are fully aware of this magazine and have already been in communication with Dennis Publishing regarding our concerns that it signposts consumers to copyright-infringing add-ons," said Kieron Sharp, chief executive of Fact.

"It is concerning that the magazine's content provides information to consumers on add-ons that would potentially allow criminality to take place," he added.

In April, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that selling devices pre-configured with add-ons allowing access to pirated content is illegal, and that streaming such content was also against the law.

Two of the add-ons listed in the article are on a banned list maintained by the Kodi developers.

"We don't support piracy add-ons and so we don't like the idea of someone selling a magazine encouraging people to use them," said Nate Betzen, Kodi's community and project manager.

"I am a bit surprised anyone is still selling a magazine like this physically, given all the lawsuits and the recent EU court decision," he added.

WH Smith declined to comment but the BBC understands that the newsagent has no plans to stop sales of the magazine.

In February, it was reported that five people had been arrested and accused of selling set-top boxes with modified versions of Kodi allowing them to stream subscription football matches, TV channels and films for free.