The developers behind Kodi, the free, open source media player software formerly known as XBMC, are taking a stand against profiteers who are selling modified versions of its product as so-called “piracy boxes”. In the past, Team Kodi has always remained neutral on its software being used to illegally access copyrighted content – the developers believe that users should have the freedom to use and modify the software to suit their needs – while making clear that it does not endorse such practices. Now, though, the team has had enough of its name being dragged through the mud by sellers of “piracy boxes” using the Kodi brand, railing against the practice in a recent blog screed.
“There have been a wave of sellers who decided to make a quick buck modifying Kodi, installing broken piracy add-ons, advertising that Kodi let’s [sic] you watch free movies and TV, and then vanishing when the user buys the box and finds out that the add-on they were sold on was a crummy, constantly breaking mess,” the Kodi blog post reads. “These sellers are dragging users into the world of piracy without their knowledge and at the same time convincing new users that Kodi is a buggy mess, because they never differentiate Kodi from 3rd party add-ons. Every day a new user shows up on the Kodi forum, totally unaware that the free movies they’re watching have been pirated and surprised to discover that Kodi itself isn’t providing those movies.”
“Team Kodi is officially tired of this,” the post continues. “We are tired of new users coming into the forum, asking why the box that “we” sold them was broken. We are tired of this endless campaign by dishonest salesmen to push a single use of Kodi that nobody on the team actually recommends. We are tired of these salesmen lying to users, claiming that pirate streams and pirate boxes are “legal” when they are absolutely not at some level or other. We are tired of being told by companies that they don’t want to work with us, because we are selling pirate boxes. Being removed from an App Store this summer because of the campaigning of others was like a slap in the face. Most of all, we are tired of a thousand different salesmen and Youtubers making money off ruining our name.”
“It’s gotten bad enough that core Kodi developers have threatened to quit in protest,” Team Kodi adds.
In order to combat the rise of “piracy boxes” using the Kodi name, the team will now use ownership of the Kodi trademark to take legal action against anyone selling systems which includes its media player software: “[W]e will issue trademark takedown notices anywhere we think the likelihood for confusion is high. If you are selling a box on your website designed to trick users into thinking broken add-ons come from us and work perfectly, so you can make a buck, we’re going to do everything we can to stop you. If you are making a video in which you claim to be a Kodi developer or Kodi team member or you are just using the Kodi name while assuring users that some pirate add-on is totally legal and isn’t going to break next week, we will do everything we can to take you down.”
Team Kodi concludes the post by asking for help from the Kodi community: “If you see somebody selling a box that’s “fully loaded” or comes with the phrase “Free movies and TV with Kodi,” please, ask them to stop. And let us know.”