back to article UK to block Kodi pirates in real-time: Saturday kick-off

Last week in the High Court, Justice Arnold agreed to a request from the Football Association and the Premier League, and supported by the BBC, amongst others, that broke new ground, technically and legally. The order, which has the support of the major UK ISPs, is unusual in several ways. It permits the ISPs to block access …

There's a danger of legal "feature creep" here. If the broadcasters convince the establishment that unmanaged media players are the root of all piracy and that only approved / licensed ones should be legal then they get even more lock in and you will have even less access to content you may well already have a license to view (I have ripped almost all my DVD/BluRays to a local server for convenience etc.).

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There's a danger of legal creep in any ruling or injunctive relief. That's not good enough cause to not make a ruling or we would never have any on that basis alone.

I sympathise with those resorting to streaming services because official providers are too expensive, because they paid huge amounts for rights, because they want to make themselves a monopoly in provision of coverage, while the sports have taken advantage of that willingness to pay ridiculous amounts.

But the fact is, if one tries to get around it by dubious or illegal means, those who own rights will come gunning for the people doing that and the people aiding and abetting them. The greater the effort to avoid paying, the greater their efforts to ensure people do.

Having an addiction to sport does not justify illegality. Resorting to dodging subscriptions isn't going to work long term. If people want to get things changed they have to find a way to achieve that change. Courts aren't there to say whether things are fair or not, they can only apply the law and lay down rulings as deemed appropriate.

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Value?

“This undermines the value of FAPL’s rights and, if unchecked, is likely to reduce the revenue returned by FAPL to football clubs, sports facilities and the wider sporting community,”

And who decides the 'value' of FAPL's rights?

Clearly the streamers aren't being offered a compelling product/price point by the rights owners.

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Anonymous Coward

Greed is the root of all the problems.

These major companies (that's what these are after all), just want more and more money and to hell with everyone else.

At some point, people hopefully wake up and go FU.

How is the 2022 Commonwealth games going BTW?

How many cities are bidding for the 2024 Olympic games again?

Massive cooperate greed is slowly coming to bite them in the arse.

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MJI
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Re: Greed is the root of all the problems.

Olympics. Another case of pay TV sticking their oar in.

At least we have BBC coverage until 2022

After that, no idea, but no BBC would mean millions of people would not watch who currently do.

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Anonymous Coward

Can't stop me...

But I remember something a while back that Cisco acquired

FRIEND MTS

https://torrentfreak.com/cisco-develops-system-automatically-cut-off-pirate-video-streams-161021/

This must be what they have been trying to keep under wraps.... being able to stop streams in real-time...

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"incentivised"

Andrew, really? ;-)

I think this may end up being a pyrrhic victory. Confidential parts for court rulings are not something you want to see very often. Time for an FoI request, methinks.

But this just a game of whack-a-mole. Until I read an article about it I had never thought of using Kodi for streaming stuff: together with a Pi it makes a great little media server for my TV so that I'm not at the vagaries of the manufacturer for software updates, codec support, etc. Now a lot more people know about it. I haven't streamed football matches for many years – I found I had better things to do with my afternoons – but I remember that even then there were other options such as getting the streams from different satellite signals and would expect these to become popular alternatives again.

As for blocking: well this might the be the step that encourages the mass adoption of IPv6 as I reckon trying to block anything based on that could turn out to be rather hard.

But at the end of the day: there is a risk of pricing themselves out of business. If things become too difficult and or too expensive, people may end up deciding it isn't worth it, even for something as emotionally charged as football is for many people. FCUM

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Re: "incentivised" THIS!

Until I read an article about it [being banned/blocked] I had never thought of using Kodi for streaming stuff:

I just bought the Leelbox for twenty quid , as streaming is defined as NOT ILLEGAL, I watched some great programs [not sport] that would have been very difficult to see/find otherwise - e.g. Peruvian TV playing a Bel Canto opera recital, don't get that form of content on the broadcast media, often, 'appen.

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So, are all ISPs affected, or not?

I see a few comments above along the lines of "Then boycott the big 5...". Does that mean you know for a fact that no other ISP will be opbliged to do this? I was under the impression that most ISPs were, in fact, BT resellers -- am I wrong?

For this, and previous rulings regarding " adult" content can "Small ISPs" really ignore the rule of law?

I'm happy to see evidence to the contrary but my reading of this is that it applies to all either because the "big 5" provide all or because it's a precedent.

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Re: So, are all ISPs affected, or not?

From the link in the article; "FAPL seeks an injunction against the Defendants ... requiring the Defendants to take measures to block, or at least impede, access by their customers to streaming servers which deliver infringing live streams of Premier League footage to UK consumers".

From that it would appear to be an order only applying to those named defendants.

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Re: So, are all ISPs affected, or not?

"I was under the impression that most ISPs were, in fact, BT resellers -- am I wrong?"

On the whole, yes, you are wrong. Non-BT ADSL ISPs are reselling access to the BT network but will often have their own kit in the local exchanges and their own servers at the the exit points. Essentially, most of them are just buying bandwidth on BTs national infrastructure.

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Anonymous Coward

Court rules that only highest paying distrutors have right to remove internet access without proof

Where is the proof that block sites are distributing their content illegally , given that this is future event then there can be none.

Where is the evidence that anyone who did watch the content without paying would have done so if the content was not availible for free.

This ruling is in actuality a blanket block of internet access the public had to pay for because some remote site "might" possibly distribute their content outside their jurisdiction, unless Judge is a prophet then there is no proof at all. Effectly ruling that distributors have the right to censor our internet without proof of anything at all.

Next they will be blinding anyone who's windows over look football pitches, satallites will need to be shot down and attendee's memorys wiped incase they talk about the match or worse still remember the action without paying a fee

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Next they will be blinding anyone who's windows over look football pitches

I'm pretty sure that ones already been through the UK courts, some considerable time ago. My recollection is very vague though - I'm thinking it might have even been cricket not footy. Citations welcome.

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Big Brother

Re: Next they will be blinding anyone who's windows over look football pitches

I'm pretty sure that ones already been through the UK courts, some considerable time ago.

We've had that here for various things including Cricket, Street race circuits, and even the thugby. Things like attempts to ban people from using any balconies or other parts of their home that overlook the field/track, banning people from being on rooves during the event ("elfin safety" of course, despite all the times the homeowner had done it before without issue, and all the times done since without either issue or the local council/event marketers etc even raising an eyebrow let alone a court case!)

Oh, and I believe there may've been some issue with people having objects visible from the field/track that named brands who were NOT paying for advertising space. These of course had to come down under threat of legal action (if this actually happened and is not a figment of my fevered memory)

Yup. A mans home is his castle. Except when it overlooks a sports event, then it belongs to the marketers and the council. Your lounge overlook the field? Better stay in the bedroom. Or does your bedroom overlook a field? No sleep for you till the game I over, and I don't care if you have to drive a busload of kids to school in the morning and need your sleep, you'll be infringing our copyright and up in court on charges if we catch you!

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Interesting

Talktalk ran an ad today saying 'unlimited'... then are involved in a plot to restrict, aka LIMIT access to certain services. I see many many 'stuff your effing contract' statements in their future

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Anonymous Coward

Good luck trying, but really must look at the outrageous cost to legally watch all the football.

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First off they are not "Kodi boxes", they are mini computers running Android which can run many, many apps including an 'open source' app called Kodi.There are alternatives to Kodi already.

Second, there is no way this can work, simple VPN works for me as I became increasingly aware of the spying done by many 'agencies' in the name of "security". If the FBI CYBER CRIMES SECTION CAN'T STOP / BLOCK SOME SERVERS I am darn sure things will continue much as now.

Personally I haven't watched soccer since Sir Stanley Mathews played 'proper' football, shoulder barges, body blocks big heavy leather balls covered in dubbin same as our boot.and all.

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Freedom

They continue to erode your freedom in the UK so you can prop up the intellectual property industry. Poor old premier league. Things are even dodgier in the UK when you wonder why a government agency (BT) are putting millions of pounds into the pockets of the likes of Wayne Rooney.

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Re: Freedom

BT were sold off some time ago (1980s IIRC)

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Wait

So Kodi apps often just links to live streams on various "Live Streaming" websites - are the ISP's planning on blocking all of these websites just because football is on? I use them, a lot for things not related to anything sporting and would be massively pissed off if my access was restricted to them because of it?

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Holmes

Hmm..

“There is increasing evidence of football fans turning to streaming devices which access infringing streams as a substitute for paid subscriptions to services such as those offered by Sky and BT.

Years ago in a much better age before we had this paytv guff, we used to get live sports for free. While not as much, the players got paid, and the managers etc still got their truckload of cash. I recall that some of our Kiwi players were doing so well financially there was a public outcry, all before payTV hit our shores.

Then the likes of Sky came along, making it much harder for poorer and even not-so-poor people to get to see the sports they love. Subscription packages where you only want the cricket but have to have 24 channels of thugby (at twice the cost of the cricket you only want) and another channel of crap you'll never watch, all at stupidly exorbitant prices.

This undermines the value of FAPL’s rights and, if unchecked, is likely to reduce the revenue returned by FAPL to football clubs, sports facilities and the wider sporting community,” he noted, along with evidence that live attendances fall too.

Unfortunately these same scumbag pricks (Sky etc) are also making it difficult to enjoy the game, as are the venue managers. Lots of people love the Basin Reserve in Wellington, a nice open place with generally good atmosphere and not-to-bad prices at the stalls. Compare that with the cake tin, horrible seating, stressed atmosphere, very exorbitant prices at the bars etc (and no chance to bring in your own drinks or food, which you can sometimes (not always) do at the Basin). I know a lot of people who've been to events, even non-sporting events, at the cake tin who say "never again". Security staff who will search people (forcefully) if they think they might have an unlicensed drink, and oh, those expensive seats? Well sorry, your shirt has a tiny logo that's not one of our sponsors, so fuck off and don't come back, even though it'll never be seen on camera. No refund. A lot of this is at the hands of those corporates like Sky who don't want to have someone else's logo show up on screen, even if it's only a tiny dot that no one could recognise, unless said firm has paid for it. The prices are stupid, the quality is poor, and the atmosphere sucks farts from dead seagulls.

Attendance hasn't dropped because of live streaming. Attendance has dropped because it's a nightmare to go. It's not like they don't know this either, every year as more and more people don't bother to show up they get told why. I've heard lots of "security guards' behaviour is a problem" and "seats are horrible" and "access is horrible (moving around the venue eg seats/toilets/drink&food stalls)" and "prices are terrible" and "I can't even bring in a bottle of forumla for my baby!" and so on, I've never once heard "I can live stream it for free".

I'm pretty sure the problematic management policies also exist at other venues, which would explain why other venues also suffer. I mean, when the game was still live on free TV, we still had venues sold out, almost every game. So when we had "nation-wide free streaming" (so-to-speak) of the game the venue would still be sold out. Now we have management making attendance painful, numbers have fallen. People stop going because they hate the experience of being there. I know that when I have the choice of watching at home on a large TV or watching a game at the Basin, I'll go to the Basin and enjoy the live experience. Watching it at home doesn't even come close to what you get with a well-managed event at a well-managed venue. It's not the steaming that's killing attendance.

Now Sky et al make it hard for people to see games (sometimes going to court to try and stop fair bidding on larger events, like when we had the Cricket world cup over this way Sky wanted to be the only ones to have it and tried to stop other broadcasters being able to bid!).

So.. My suggestions. 1) For the attendance, make the atmosphere better (or bulldoze places like the cake tin if management aren't willing to play ball) and 2) make Sky pay full prices for the game but make them give it to every one else for free, even if they have to pay at their expense to give people TV's to watch the game on. Alternatively, a dose of HSLI to some of the Sky execs might make others think a bit more about how they treat not only their customers but also the rest of us who don't want to be their victimscustomers. You'll see record attendance, the broadcasters can still make a mint selling adspace because a LOT MORE PEOPLE WILL WATCH instead of finding other things to do, and all round everyone will be happier. Except maybe the cake tin managers who stayed in their offices when it was being bulldozed (what, I can dream can't I?)

Certainly got the FAP part right.

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Re: Hmm..

Since Sky hoovered up (most) cricket covearge in the UK (I am not a Sky subscriber, cannot justify the expense, nor do I want to give cash to the Murdochs who unduly (IMHO) influence the UK already with their press / TV pushing certain political agendas ), my viewing / interest in cricket has dropped dramatically. I used to watch quite a lot when it was on free terrestrial TV (primarily BBC)

The last (UK county) cricket I saw was not on TV (as Sky only for that) but in person at the ground.

Although I do occasionally attend the odd day of cricket, it's far less often than when lots of cricket was on the BBC, as with so much other entertainment on offer (& limited free time), cricket very much out of sight = out of mind.

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MJI
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Re: Hmm..

Cricket?

I heard of that once.

There are young people who have never seen it, and have no idea who are involved.

A great way of getting a sport into obscurity.

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Thumb Up

Re: Hmm..

cricket very much out of sight = out of mind.

Yep, that's probably another factor in falling attendance at matches.

Hell I used to attend a lot of cricket, local stuff and the odd national or international game. Even a lot of indoor stuff if people I knew were playing (I was a supporter, not just a watcher).

Sky and their ilk make people stop watching sports and stop supporting them. People move on.

Oh, fully agree sky and agendas etc. Though NZ's mainstream news sources are pretty poor anyway. I think they could train the rest of the world in "fake news" and "bias". and "twisting the facts beyond all recognition"..

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Re: Hmm..

A great way of getting a sport into obscurity.

NZ's news media are bad at that. Every day, 365 days a year, will be at least 15 mintues of the news hour on thugby or thugby players. NZ hockey team wins a major international tournament? Well that the hockey team exists won't even get a mention because Dan Carter just farted and we need to devote time to that! Blackcaps just won a tournament against Oz but hey, we've only had 30minutes about the last thugby game that was 6 weeks ago, better make space for more thugby!

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Anonymous Coward

Those in favour say; aye

Coming soon: The great British 'Eye Tax Act of 2018'.

Have an eye, two maybe?

You'll need to pay tax on them soon.

No more peeking at free footy for you!

The eye-detector vans will be out and about on match days.

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big whoop

No bfd. Soccer is almost as boring as professional darts

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Holmes

Re: big whoop

No bfd. Soccer is almost as boring as professional darts

There's a ton of sports and other things I find boring. Almost all sports actually, bar for Cricket and some motorbike racing (would rather be riding than watching). But if other people enjoy it and want to spend money on it, that's their business.

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Anonymous Coward

No where else to watch it

Of course, maybe if the FA bought itself into the 21st century and actually allowed Sky et al to broadcast games live, at 3pm on a Saturday, on British TV, then there wouldn't be as much of an issue. The streams that are being pirated are filmed by Sky (generally) and broadcast in other parts of the world live.

But not here. No. The FA want us to go and support our local Town FC instead.

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1: Who still watches football - aren't they just less skilled and seriously overpaid than players of 20yrs ago.

2: VPN, DNS etc etc hahahaha.

3: I say get some people at the actual matches with 4K GoPros and just stream it via Periscope!

4: Greedy TV companies and overpaid players - the best thing everyone could do it stop subscribing and tuning in to these matches!

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Why don't the broadcasters sort this issue out by not going to court and...

Actually make the subscriptions...

a) affordable.

b) if (a) is true and users don't want to pay monthly, then make games available cheaply on PAYG (no, NowTV isn't cheap at 15 quid a game?)

c) allow the host broadcasters to sell internationally (therefore bigger outreach to international subs and just say to other nations; take or leave the right to broadcast on traditional TV).

d) if (a), (b), (c) are true, it'll make the desire to get dodgy Kodi devices less so and then weeding out the sellers of the kit when demand is low.

A lot of you probably don't care about football, but if we look at any other media consumable over the internet; piracy is probably down because access to music, movies and TV shows can be done on-demand and subscriptions are cheap because of iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Netflix blah, blah, blah.

Sports is pretty much one of the only that refuses to adapt/change their model. To expose what the courts can ask ISPs to do is a scarier thought than paying through the roof for a sports subscription.

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Trollface

Re: Why don't the broadcasters sort this issue out by not going to court and...

piracy is probably down because access to music, movies and TV shows can be done on-demand

Yup. Used to be when I was visiting some mates we'd often be pirating something just to have something other than LiveTV to watch. But now that we've found Popcorn Time we don't pirate..Er, oh wait nevermind...

(Oh, and if you rent/buy a DVD from a proper source and invite a couple of friends around, you're probably "pirating" it these days!)

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Re: Why don't the broadcasters sort this issue out by not going to court and...

Keyword - "probably".

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I remember the best part of twenty years ago when I first wrote about the IWF being able to lean on ISPs to block alleged child porn content, backed by Home Office muscle but no laws, that this was the slippery end of an unregulated slope - and I was called paranoid. Anyone calling me paranoid now? The courts are saying because the *architecture* is in place, why not force people to use it?

Footie today, Wikileaks tomorrow.

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Childcatcher

Anyone calling me paranoid now?

Looking at the downvotes, some short-sighted (pun mostly not intended) people still think that way.

But it's quite logical, especially for those in the UK. Once TPTB get a power they rarely miss a chance to use it, and they don't give it up easily. The more people get used to "just accepting" these things the more "things" they have to accept.

Am reminded of the SW movies... "So this is how liberty dies, with thunderous applause"

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A New Sport

Maybe its time to find a new sport for armchair fans to obsess over. Too much money poured into TV, clubs and players has ruined it...

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Happy

Re: A New Sport

"Maybe its time to find a new sport for armchair fans to obsess over. Too much money poured into TV, clubs and players has ruined it..."

NO! Leave Dwile Flonking alone!

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Morons everywhere

Football: a sport of morons, played by morons, watched by morons, ruled by morons.

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Re: Morons everywhere

Morons like to moan about it as well.

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Anonymous Coward

Here's the thing - I have Kodi and all it's nefarious add ons.

So even though I could watch as much football as I wanted, for free, I don't bother. It's dull. Last season in the Premiership was an anomaly and yet I still didn't care enough to want to watch it unfold.

Ditto F1.

The big TV providers bleat on about how much they're losing, but they've failed to recognise that their product is no longer as attractive as it once was.

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Facepalm

Next Kodi update will include built in VPN/Proxy...

...or some other way of masking requesting IP addresses.

Opera browser has this facility built in for free already.

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Black Helicopters

Re: Next Kodi update will include built in VPN/Proxy...

Opera browser has this facility built in for free already.

Not for long. The NZ ISP "Slingshot" had a built-in VPN service aimed at people from overseas who were either visiting NZ or had recently moved, so that they could keep up with shows from their homeland that weren't being shown here (companies love to buy exclusive rights to stuff and never show it nor allow it on DVD, or run it at stupid hours, or cut entire episodes from the season, or claim it's "all new" when they're on their 5th repeat this month/it was shown in the US 4 or 5 years ago, not to mention the 15minutes of ads every 15.5 minutes)

So being wonderful corporate citizens they were, Sky banded together with someone else and took Slingshot to court and fought a very expensive legal battle that saw this VPN service axed.

Might not be long before the Opera devs find the wonderful people at Sky are coming for them.

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Anonymous Coward

Along with those people who are saying there is no legal way to watch 3pm matches without physically being at the game - one of the shows I have to acquire in other ways - is called The Fosters. It's an American drama - it's currently in it's 4th season. No UK channel has broadcast it yet, Netflix doesn't carry it - Amazon doesn't carry it. There is absolutely no way to legally watch it in this country.

AC because you know.

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If you get a good VPN then you can go to india where these UK things are actually available...for nothing. The ISP cannot "see" what you are recieving, just that it is moving stuff, not even what, it could be a home movie, skype, etc.

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Mushroom

Lazy-arsed, slovenly journalism.

PLEASE stop referring to streaming plugins that source copyrighted material as "Kodi." Kodi is an open source media centre and organiser. Using the logic of the article, most web piracy should be referred to as "Chrome pirates." See how my finger is on the pulse there with browser rankings?

As for the bootnote, well, they would, wouldn't they? It's pretty obvious to me that this crap is overpriced nonsense to help some Lexusists with their share dividends. I'm quite happy to pay for Amazon Prime. I'm not prepared to pay increased line rental to subsidise bloody football broadcast rights grabs or increased licence fees for the utter tosh the BBC broadcast now. Not that I'm affected by this at all. Football is about as interesting as watching paint dry and the F1 coverage is still on RTL on 19.2E free to air this year.

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Re: Lazy-arsed, slovenly journalism.

And they aren't "hackers", they're "crackers" goddamit.

Don Quixote

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Re: Lazy-arsed, slovenly journalism.

Yes, it may well be tilting at windmills, yet just letting it lie will give us exactly what we now have with Bit Torrent, where legitimate uses of, let's face it, a MUCH more efficient content delivery system for things like disto ISOs is stigmatised by buffoons using the term incorrectly.

Kodi is a media centre. The problem is a combination of tvaddons.ag and morons on eBay selling perfectly good media streaming devices loaded up with plug-ins from that repository, half of which don't work and the other half connecting to transient, illegal, compressed to hell rubbish.

The very first thing I do to any Amlogic box I get near is root it, remove the shit and associated update processes (read "infection vectors") and install a clean copy of Kodi from the official builds. Then you can safely install the apps for content you are actually entitled to use, such as Amazon, Netflix et al without the risk of joining the merry Mirai tribe.

For more advanced people, an SD card with LibreELEC on it works far better for legal uses such as streaming from local NAS or a PVR than trusting the shonky Chinese Android build.

And yes, this is late. I've been busy. Just call me Mr Necromancer.

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Technically very easy

Given the short block periods a false positive isn't that much of a problem and you don't even need to block the game from the start. Just wait for the game to start and watch for spikes in streaming content then advertise a route to null0 into your network. Drop the route after 90 mins and wait for the next game.

It is more effective to drop traffic during the match than before because if you do it before the punters have time to find an alternative - watching it legally becomes a lot more attractive when you have missed the end of a few games.

The significance here is the fact it is IP rather than host name blocking - it's a blunter tool but harder to circumvent because you can use an alternate DNS provider but you can't use a different routing table.

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Re: Technically very easy

(Yes, if you use a VPN you are effectively using a different routing table)

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