Watching 'fully-loaded' Kodi boxes that allow illegal streaming is tantamount to theft, according to John Whittingdale, former Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.
In a newspaper column, Whittingdale proposes a clampdown on the streaming devices. He says that more than half a million were sold in the UK in the last two years.
These devices do huge harm to broadcasters, content creators and rights owners, he says. By streaming content illegally, you "will be undermining the economics of Britain's world-leading creative industry and threatening to make it harder for our content creators to bring their ideas to life," he writes.
These devices are a step on from downloading pirated content, because they let you watch direct on your TV, he says. Hence they 'normalise' an illegal act.
Such 'fully-loaded' boxes are estimated to cost UK TV and film producers around £820 million, not including losses incurred by pay-TV providers and sports rights holders.
Outside the UK, illegal streaming has been in the dock again. A Dutch District Court in the Hague has ordered internet hosting provider Ecatel to stop providing services that can be used to illegally stream Premier League matches. If it doesn't, it will have to pay a fine of €1.5 million.
According to the Premier League, it's a warning to any other services enabling illegal streams.
"This is a crucial judgement for the Premier League, and for other sports and rights holders," said Kevin Plumb, Premier League director of legal services. "It sends a clear message to rogue server and hosting providers that by facilitating illegal streams they can themselves be subject to legal action."
Kodi boxes are completely legal, though because they're open source, they can be easily used to access illegal streams.