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A Middlesbrough trader is set to make legal history as the first person to be prosecuted for selling Android boxes.

Following an 18-month investigation, Brian Thompson has been told Middlesbrough Council is taking him to court in what could prove a landmark case.

The council claims the boxes are illegal, but Brian said: “I am pleading not guilty and I’m going to fight this.”

The kit - also known as a ‘Kodi box’ - allows viewers to watch copyright material like Premier League football and Hollywood movies for free.

As such there are major question marks over both their legality, and exactly just what people can safely watch.

Brian admits that, win or lose, either result could prove catastrophic to his Parliament Road business ‘Cut Price Tomo’s TV’ - but is determined to fight it

“If it goes against me, then I won’t last ten minutes,” admits the 54-year-old.

“But if they rule in my favour then the boxes will be getting sold for pennies on eBay, and it won’t be worth my time selling them.

“I expect it go against me but at least I will know where I stand.”

At the minute, that is far from clear.

The box itself, claims Brian, isn’t illegal and is effectively just a big USB stick.

It’s when the box is ‘loaded’ with apps and add-ons to access copyright-protected material like football when issues arise.

According to court papers, it is claimed that Brian was selling the boxes ‘pre-loaded’ - with those apps already installed - when council officials raided him last March.

He will now appear at Teesside Magistrates’ Court on September 27 to face three charges stemming from that raid in which Brian claimed several thousand pounds worth of kit was seized.

Nationally there have been several similar raids but its understood Middlesbrough Council is the first to test the waters.

If the authority’s successful, it could spark a wave of prosecutions and effectively outlaw the kit.

If not, it could mean the powers that be decide against any further court cases - meaning the boxes are effectively legal.

Brian realises the significance of the case and is just looking forward to finding what he can and can’t sell.

He added: “This may have to go to the crown court and then it may go all the way to the European court, but I want to make a point with this and I want to make it easier for people to know what is legal and what isn’t.”

“It is the first case of its kind in the world so it is going to be interesting.”

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