SKY Television has claimed a victory over set-top box distributor Fibre TV.

A judge in the Christchurch District Court ruled the sale of Fibre TV's pre-loaded 'Kodi boxes' were unlawful and breached copyright, a statement from Sky TV says.

Sophie Moloney, SKY Television's general counsel, said it was great to have the matter clarified as New Zealanders were buying the boxes under false impression that they were legitimate.

"It is great to have this matter clarified, as we were concerned that New Zealanders were buying these boxes under the false impression that they were legitimate – it simply wasn't true.

"Piracy is an ongoing problem for everyone in the content and creative sectors. Recent research shows that almost a third of New Zealanders are pirating, some as regularly as weekly, with one in ten saying it's the way they 'normally' access content.

"It also found that 3 per cent of New Zealanders are regularly using Kodi boxes or Kodi software to access TV, movies and sport. That's over 100,000 Kiwis, some of whom will have been duped into believing it was legitimate because of the marketing promises made by suppliers like Fibre TV," Moloney said.

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Pre-loaded boxes are often called 'Kodi boxes', because they use Kodi software platforms.

The unlawful aspect is using software plugins or add-ons that enable people to find and stream pirated content, Sky said.

Using such add-ons, Fibre TV positioned itself as having "all of the content with none of the fees", including Netflix, SKY movies and a range of sport content.

Judge Gary MacAskill found that these claims were misleading and in breach of the Fair Trading Act, Sky said.

Courts and lawmakers have been cracking down on 'Kodi boxes' – which have become a growing problem around the world.

The court will now consider next steps for the Fibre TV promoters and their boxes.