Kodi users have been put on alert that their favourite add-ons could soon be under threat from the ongoing piracy crackdown.
Research has suggested that Kodi – which offers access to thousands of channels – is being used in more than five million UK homes.
Kodi software is not illegal, but unaffiliated developers can produce third-party add-ons that provide free access to pirated and illegal content.
These apps allow users to stream premium content, like paid-for sports, movie channels and TV shows for free.
These illegal add-ons have been targeted by ISPs, government agencies, broadcasters and rights holders.
Distributors of ‘fully loaded’ Kodi boxes, which have illicit add-ons already installed, have seen their businesses shut down in the ongoing crackdown.
And now it looks like rights holders are ramping up their efforts to go after the offending add-ons in question.
Charles Rivkin, the CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), spoke about the ongoing piracy crackdown in an interview with World Screen.
Kodi users have been put on alert that their favourite add-on could soon be under threat
Rivkin discussed how rights holders joining forces under the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) has helped combat piracy.
The former diplomat explained that the ACE’s efforts has already helped shut down the operations of major website 123Movies.
But he said the threat that rights holders are having to target at the moment is streaming devices loaded with illicit software.
Rivkin said: “[ACE] is already the premier global effort to reduce piracy.
Research suggests Kodi is used in more than five million homes in the UK
“For example, we shut down a pirate website called 123Movies, which was out of Hanoi, where about 80 million illegal downloads a month were taking place.
“We were able to win in court against pirate operators called TickBox and Dragon Box, and they represent a new threat: the internet streaming devices, the ISDs, that are basically devices that can be purchased completely legally but when loaded with illegal software, can do enormous damage to content.”
When Rivkin refers to ISDs, it sounds like set-top boxes that are made by third-parties that use Kodi’s free software along with illicit add-ons.
Kodi in no shape or form are associated with the makers of these third-party devices or illegal unofficial add-ons.
Kodi is perfectly legal but some third-party apps provide access to illicit content
For those using or making such add-ons, Rivkin warned that location is no obstacle in the battle to crackdown on internet piracy.
The MPAA CEO said: “I mentioned the takedown in Hanoi of that site, but that site can be accessed from anywhere on the planet.
“So yes, you have to go for the source, but the use of the stolen material can occur anywhere.
“It’s a global fight; you can’t solve it in one country and think that you’re done.”
Kodi has regularly denounced the existence of illegal add-ons that help enable piracy.
In a blog post recently they said: “It’s noteworthy to point out that most third-party add-ons aren’t illegal.
“They are authored by legitimate developers that, like us, give their free time to the benefit of the community.
“Those developers choose not to submit the add-ons to our repository for a variety of reasons, but the add-ons are legal. Just not official.
Kodi users are being warned add-ons could face the full force of the piracy crackdown
“But some are illegal. A few are both illegal and just downright nasty, and some rogue developers even think your hardware is their hardware.
“These developers and the surrounding ecosystem only care about popularity or money.
“Yes, they do make money from you, selling that marvellous VPN that you so desperately need to feel safe, showing you ads galore, promising everything for free.
“We know the story. A work colleague told you about some wonderful software that makes it very easy to watch your favorite sports, movies and TV shows online and for free.
“You go out and buy a Kodi box.
“You plug it to your TV set and voila – instant free entertainment!
“Now, if it sounds like it can’t be legit because it literally sounds too good to be true, and that they must be dodgy or bonkers doing all this for nothing, I can tell you your spidey senses are absolutely correct.
“It is too good to be true and there is no such thing as a free lunch.”