Hartlepool man convicted of selling illegal media boxes

​A man who sold illegal media player boxes which allowed the free viewing of premium television content has pleaded guilty at Teesside Crown Court to breaching the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988, following an investigation by the National Trading Standards North East Regional Investigations Team and Hartlepool Borough Council.

Malcolm Mayes, from Hartlepool, sold IPTV boxes, sometimes referred to as ‘Kodi’ boxes or ‘Android’ boxes, which had been modified to allow the users to freely view content that should otherwise be paid for. When a box has been modified in this way it is often described as being ‘fully loaded’.

Mr Mayes targeted pubs and clubs when selling the devices, falsely claiming in national magazine adverts that they were ‘100% legal’. He sold the boxes for around £1,000 each which enabled his customers to stream live ‘pay to view’ content, including live Premier League football, free of charge.

National Trading Standards conducted a test purchase on a device sold by Mr Mayes and found the box had been adapted so as to allow ‘pay to view’ programmes to be viewed free of charge.

Following his guilty plea Mr Mayes was sentenced to ten months in prison (suspended for one year) and ordered to pay costs of £170,000. A Proceeds of Crime Act order was also made against him for a further £80,000.

Commenting on the conviction Lord Toby Harris, Chair of National Trading Standards, said:

“Mr Mayes knowingly sold these illegal boxes which breached copyright law, misleading small businesses by falsely claiming that these devices were legal. I hope this conviction sends a clear message that criminal activity doesn’t pay.

“I would also warn any person or business selling or operating such a device 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.”

Ian Harrison, Trading Standards & Licensing Manager for Hartlepool Borough Council said:

“The cost of this case has been significant to Mr Mayes. In pleading guilty he has accepted that it is illegal to sell a device that allows the free viewing of ‘pay to view’ television. This is common sense and should be obvious to anyone.

“Mr Mayes should not be seen as a Robin Hood type character. In selling these devices he was not stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. He was stealing from the rich to make himself richer. Many of the pubs and clubs that bought his devices lost significant amounts of money when the devices failed to operate as promised.

“We will continue to target those traders and individuals who make their living from selling counterfeit goods or in other ways allow intellectual property to be stolen.”

Anyone with any information regarding the sale of ‘fully loaded’ IPTV boxes should contact Hartlepool Trading Standards on 01429 523354.

Notes to Editors

For more information about this case or for general enquiries about National Trading Standards please call 020 7025 7570 or e-mail

Notes to editors

Malcolm Mayes, of Egerton Road, Hartlepool, was convicted of advertising and selling devices that enabled the circumvention of technological measures contrary to Section 296ZB of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

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