The Kodi box is particularly popular in the UK iStock, Kodi

The Premier League has managed to secure a court order to help stop streams of football matches, which are commonly viewed on so-called Kodi boxes, that infringe broadcasting rights.

The order gives the league the means to have computer servers used to power the streams blocked.

Before the order it could only go after individual video streams, which were relatively easy to re-establish at different links.

A spokesman for the Premier League said: "For the first time this will enable the Premier League to disrupt and prevent the illegal streaming of our matches via IPTV, so-called Kodi, boxes."

Football fans have been urged to instead watch the sport through television subscriptions such as Sky Sports or BT Sport.

Derbyshire County Council trading standards officers recently said users streaming content via Kodi boxes are not breaking copyright laws.

But the Intellectual Property Office has taken a different view.

A spokesman said: "It is a criminal offence to knowingly receive subscription broadcasts without paying for them, and there are also provisions restricting the manufacture, sale or use of equipment designed to circumvent the encryption that protects many TV broadcasts."

What is a Kodi box?

Kodi is free software, built by volunteers, that is designed to bring videos, music, games and photographs together in one easy-to-use application.

Some vendors sell set-top boxes and TV sticks known as Kodi boxes, preloaded with the software.

The developers behind Kodi say their software does not contain any content of its own and is designed to play legally owned media or content "freely available" on the internet.

However, the software can be modified with third-party add-ons that provide access to pirated copies of films and TV series, or provide free access to subscription television channels.

It is these modifications that have caused the most controversy.