Amazon and eBay told to quit selling fake set-top boxes
False use of the FCC logo prompts investigations but piracy remains a focusBy Greg Synek 7 comments
What just happened? Jeff Bezos and Devin Wenig have received a letter from the FCC asking their businesses to stop selling set-top boxes that are not compliant with current regulations. Aside from never having passed FCC certifications, several boxes are being targeted in relation to piracy of copyrighted content.
Amazon and eBay CEOs recently received a letter from the Federal Communications Commission requesting that their businesses stop selling set-top boxes of questionable origins. Several in question have FCC certification logs but there is no record of the products ever being approved.
Additionally, many boxes have been put under scrutiny since they have been used in consumer fraud and theft of intellectual property. The FCC's main complaint is that "these devices are being used to illegally stream copyrighted content," and are allegedly causing billions of dollars in theft of entertainment.
In this case, the FCC has acknowledged that both eBay and Amazon have taken steps to prevent the sale of counterfeit goods on their respective platforms. It has been requested that any manufacturers, sellers, distributors, and suppliers found to be selling fraudulent or non-compliant goods be referred to the FCC.
Devices that have not passed FCC certification may not be compliant with electromagnetic interference requirements. While it is possible that interference is caused by non-compliant devices, the main reason for the letter here is still undoubtedly piracy. Pay TV providers as well as Netflix, Amazon, and major Hollywood studios have all gone after set-top box businesses in the past because of their facilitation of piracy.
Kodi is notoriously used a means of viewing illegal content, but was not mentioned by name in the FCC letter. However, even Amazon's own Fire TV and Fire Stick streaming devices can be modified to install the software needed to easily obtain pirated content. The issue of illegitimate set-top boxes is a problem, but getting rid of questionable products is unlikely to have much effect on illegal use of copyrighted content.