Are Kodi Boxes Illegal or Legal in Australia, Canada, USA?

Are Kodi Boxes illegal or legal to use in UK, Canada, Australia, or USA? Kodi XBMC is quickly turning into one of the most used streaming apps. This lead to a substantial rise of Kodi TV boxes. You can easily find these Android-based streaming devices on Ebay or Amazon. They come with Kodi pre-installed, saving you the time, effort, and hassle of having to manually install Kodi on your Android TV Box, along with its repositories and addons. However, are these Kodi boxes safe to use? And more importantly, can you get into legal trouble if you buy a Kodi TV box online?

Are Android TV Boxes Safe and Legal?
Are Kodi Boxes Illegal or Legal?

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Are Kodi Boxes Safe to Use?

The safety of an Android TV box is mainly concerned with whether that streaming device has malware or viruses installed on it. There have been several cases where such Kodi TV boxes were indeed infected with malicious software. Such incidents are well documented on the official Kodi website. If you intend to buy a Kodi box off Amazon or Ebay, make sure to go through all the reviews before you make your purchase. This allows you to get a better idea about whether you can trust the Android TV box seller or not.

In case you have bought an Android TV Box with Kodi pre-loaded on it, make sure you have the latest Kodi 17.3 update installed on it. Older Kodi versions have major security flaws which have been addressed in the latest update.

The fact these Kodi TV boxes are Android-based also means that you can install anti-virus apps on them. Make sure you setup an antivirus application, such as BitDefender, MalwareBytes, or Avast on your Android streaming device directly after you connect it to your WiFi network. There are even Kodi antivirus addons like Security Shield you can install via your XBMC app.

Are Kodi Boxes Legal to Use?

Update 1: On February 8th, 2017, British police forces arrested 5 people accused of selling and distributing illegal Kodi set-top boxes in the North West of England and Wales.

Update 2: On March 7th, 2017,  Lord Toby Harris, Chair of National Trading Standards in the UK, stated that he “would also warn any person or business selling or operating such a device (Kodi boxes) that they are in breach of copyright law. National Trading Standards will continue to protect legitimate business and pursue those who breach copyright in this way.”

Update 3: On April 4th, 2017, Amazon has officially banned the selling of Android TV boxes on its website. Amazon even threatened to suspend the accounts of anyone who attempts to sell “fully loaded” Android TV Boxes.

Update 4: On April 11th, 2017, Ebay followed Amazon suits and banned the selling of Kodi boxes on its website as well.

Update 5: On Wednesday 26th April, 2017, the ECJ, aka European Court of Justice, ruled that “copyright-protected work obtained by streaming from a website belonging to a third party offering that work without the consent of the copyright holder”  does not benefit from an exemption of the laws governing the distribution of copyright content.  In other words, streaming pirated content using illicit addons is now just as illegal in the EU as downloading copyrighted material.

Update 6: On Thursday, May 25th, 2017, Facebook updated their their Commerce Policy to prohibit the sale of Android TV Boxes according to TorrentFreak.  “Sale of the following is prohibited on Facebook: Products or items that facilitate or encourage unauthorized access to digital media.” the page reads.

This is a gray area. Whether Kodi boxes can be consider illegal or not largely depend on your current country of residence. UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, France, and USA have strict laws against online piracy. What you might not be aware of is that a lot of the Kodi addons you are using to watch movies and TV shows get their video feed from pirated streaming sites. That’s why UK police recently arrested a Kodi TV seller from Norfolk, England. Your ISP can easily monitor your online activities. That’s the main reason so many unsuspecting Kodi TV box users get copyright infringement notices from their ISPs. To stay on the safe side, use VPN on your Kodi TV box. That way, you can stream movies, TV series, and live TV channels anonymously.

Best VPNs to Use with Kodi TV Box

While antivirus apps keep your streaming device safe from potential malware or viruses, you are still exposed to your ISP potentially eavesdropping on what you are watching online. It does not matter on whether you’re streaming via your Kodi TV box, PC, Fire Stick, Android, or iOS. The ugly truth is that your Internet service provider can keep tabs on all your activities online. Using VPN is the best, and possibly the easiest, way to achieve online anonymity.

  • By connecting to a VPN server, you practically prevent your ISP, copyright trolls, and even government agencies from spying on you.
  • VPN apps are compatible with PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, and of course Android. If your router has a VPN client, you can even setup your VPN connection on it.
  • You can also hide your public IP address using VPN. That way, no one can trace your torrent downloads back to you.
  • Last but not least, VPN enables you to bypass regional restrictions. Some Kodi addons and streaming channels are geo-restricted i.e. you can only watch them in certain regions. Virtual private networks all you to unblock geoblocked content from around the world.

In terms of the best VPN to use on Kodi TV boxes, I’d definitely recommend using ExpressVPN. They don’t keep logs of their users online activities and their VPN servers work pretty well with Kodi. I’ve listed other top Kodi VPN services below.

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Learn how to hide your IP on any Android TV Box.

How to Install Kodi 17 Krypton on FireStick

The best scenario for you to follow would be purchasing an untempered Amazon Fire TV Stick and then install Kodi on the FireStick yourself as shown in the guide below. The same process can be used to install Kodi on any Android TV Box as well.

Top Kodi Android Boxes in 2017

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Nvidia Shield
  • Matricom G-Box Q2
  • MINIX,
  • Razor Forge TV
  • Google Nexus Player
  • Oobersticks

Read our Top 5 Kodi Streaming Devices Review.

Are Kodi Boxes Safe and Legal to Use? The Bottom Line

Make no mistake about it. Your online privacy and security is not something you want to take lightly. Using a proper antivirus app as well as a VPN service like ExpressVPN on your Kodi TV Box can go a long way in protecting you from potential safety and legal issues.

32 thoughts on “Are Kodi Boxes Illegal or Legal in Australia, Canada, USA?”

  1. Just wanting some clarification. If an Android box with Kodi is used are all the items in the Kodi repository legal to use? I know that any third party ones aren’t. Also YouTube is ok, right? What about Netflix? It’s all a bit confusing.

  2. I don’t get it. Is Kodi legal or not. I know if a person was to download and distribute pirated material that makes it illegal. I thought downloading for personal use wasn’t illegal. That is where the confusion is for me.

  3. John Mac Tavish

    Everyone is talking about VPN.I was told that if the company was served with a warrant,they have to give up all information and you would get caught.So I don’t use a VPN in Canada.

    1. Charles Roswell

      Hi John. It really doesn’t work that way. If the VPN service provider does follow a strict no logging policy, they wouldn’t have any info to give up to begin with.

  4. What about if one is using Kodi to view free content (for example I plan to watch World Cup matches (I am in Australia) through Kodi on the likes of CBC Canada, which is a public broadcaster. Would that be considered illegal?
    Also, if one was to access/view streaming TV channels from overseas that is ‘paid’ (not free to air), obviously it would be geo-blocked, so one can get around that by a VPN, but then when go to pay for the service to access it, how do you get past the subscription screens which will (?) ask for an address? So if I was trying to access a pay channel in UK from Australia, I don’t have a UK address ~ is this a problem?
    Thanks for a reply,

    1. Charles Roswell

      Hello Paul. In theory, you should be able to use a fake address when signing up with a geo-blocked streaming channel from abroad.

      1. Thank you Charles, much appreciated.
        And my first question ~ that of, is viewing streams/broadcasts through Kodi of overseas free to air channels considered illegal (from the contexts you refer to in article)?

        1. Charles Roswell

          As long as you aren’t using unofficial Kodi addons that provide pirated streams you should be OK.

  5. I want to make sure I understand the set up you are talking about: I purchase my own modem & pay a company for a VPN (monthly/one time payment?), then I buy an Android box (the cost for a good box ?) for each TV & get someone to program them for me.
    After this I should get all my TV shows in Canada & USA, sports, HBO, Netflix, Crave without paying anything & no risk of losing the feed….say in the middle of the world series?
    It sounds like a lot of out of pocket expense to take a big risk in hopes of having this VPN protect me from prosecution.
    But…I would love to get rid of the big corporations telling what I can or can’t watch & charging me up the ass for it.

  6. Harold Morris

    If everybody used Kodi boxes and all of the cable co. Folded up, isn’t it true their would be no tv shows produced since they no longer receiving money from the cable cos. and thus this would put a stop to streaming.

  7. Your ISP kowns where their data is going. You can’t hide from them. After all, they are providing it to you. A VPN only protects you from other sources.

    1. Charles Roswell

      That’s not entirely correct. If you connect to a VPN server, your ISP will only be able to detect that. Everything you do while using VPN is encrypted.

  8. Hello Charles,
    In your article you say: ‘Update 3: On April 4th, 2017, Amazon has officially banned the selling of Android TV boxes on its website. Amazon even threatened to suspend the accounts of anyone who attempts to sell “fully loaded” Android TV Boxes.’
    Out of curiosity I went to Amazon website and searched for ‘android TV box’. To my surprize thousands of results showed up. If they banned the TV box why they still sell it? Can you please shed some light on this?

    1. Charles Roswell

      Hi Werner. It might be that these Android Boxes are untempered i.e. don’t have unofficial Kodi addons installed on them. If you end up purchasing one, you’d have to manually configure it.

  9. I have a Nexbox A95x which I use only for streaming local TV programs here in Australia such as iView and SBS On Demand to my Panasonic TV set. I have no need for Kodi. I use a direct network connection from my ADSL modem and not WiFi. I do not use a VPN.
    Are there any concerns here and are there any advantages in using Kodi?

  10. not currently working and it was suggested that I might want to look at getting an android box which in fact cut my cable/internet bill significantly. however now I’m here that they may not be legal in Canada and that if buy one I might be taking the risk of it getting cut off.

    not sure if it’s a good idea to switch from regular cable to android to stream regular tv shows/music mainly???

    1. Charles Roswell

      Hi Kim. I’d suggest buying either an Android TV Box without any apps installed on it or purchasing a Fire TV Stick. That way, you can do all necessary installations on your own.

      1. Alex Cunningham

        Will my present router protect all the devices such as laptop, Mygica kodi box, and desk top computer etc that are connected to it or will I need a different VPN specific router?

          1. Alex Cunningham

            The router I am using came from my ISP when I first signed up with them last year. It is a, TP-Link300Mbps Wireless N ADSL2+ modem router. Model TD-W8961ND
            Ver 3.1

  11. Everything looks so good by using a VPN.
    The question is: can you trust the VPN provider? If you have to hide something they hold the ‘prima facie’ evidence about you. So why would you trust them?

    1. Charles Roswell

      Because VPN service providers like IPVanish and ExpressVPN do not keep logs of the websites you visit, files you download, or movies you stream. It’s clearly stated in their privacy policies.

  12. Lol if yous think a vpn will stop the nsa in united states from illegally monitoring anybody in the world think again dont waste your money this vpn is a scam to get ppl who cant think for themselves to buy it for thier fake protection its all big joke another way to scam people for money

    1. Charles Roswell

      VPN is not a scam. If you’re using OpenVPN, even the NSA cannot crack your VPN connection.

  13. Alex Cunningham

    Will using a VPN prevent your ISP from blocking your android box when you try to use Kodi or Mobdro addons?

    1. Charles Roswell

      Hi Alex. Yes, your ISP won’t be able to block any apps you’re using as long as you are connected to a VPN.

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