Kodi Faces Major Crackdown In The UK As Premier League Continues Its Anti-Piracy Campaign
Kodi is undoubtedly one of the best set-top boxes available in the market today despite stiff competition from other Android streaming devices. Even Apple fans have shown love for the Kodi application and want to install it in their iPhones and iPads.
Despite the legality of the company's set-top box and related add-ons, however, Kodi is currently in hot water over in the United Kingdom following the Premier League's court order-backed anti-piracy campaign.
Troublesome Times Ahead For Kodi
According to reports, the Premier League, the English professional league for men's association football clubs, secured a court order backing its aggressive witch hunt for services that stream its paid subscription content for free.
Following the court order grant, the Premier League immediately went after Kodi because it believes the streaming software is infringing on its copyright for streaming the league's matches, and it is doing so with assistance from the UK's internet service providers.
It must be noted, however, that Kodi is not the Premier League's main target because the league will also go after other streaming devices and applications that do not hold broadcasting rights. Kodi is just unlucky enough to be the Android device promoted by an individual caught selling "fully loaded" IPTV boxes - more on that later.
"The Premier League is currently engaged in its largest ever anti-piracy campaign to protect its copyright [...] our model is predicated on the ability to market and sell rights and protect our intellectual property," a Premier League spokesman said.
A Very Unfortunate Event
As mentioned above, several arrests have already been made in relation to the strengthened anti-piracy campaign. In February alone, five individials were arrested for selling modified Kodi boxes. One of the men, Malcolm Mayes, was fined £250,000 (about $305,000) and sentenced to 10 months in prison after a guilty plea.
Mayes modified Kodi boxes to freely stream what was supposed to be paid content and advertised his devices on national magazines with the claim that it is "100% legal."
Kodi Denies Allegations Of Copyright Infringement
Despite pressure from the Premier League and law enforcement, Kodi maintains that it is completely legal and does not operate or promote illegal use of its set-top boxes. The company argues that it is only offering an open-source platform for media streaming, but that they have no connection to the third-party applications and services that use it.
"If we were to shut down third-party add-ons entirely in the next version of Kodi, our open-source license means that anyone could fork our software and easily re-enable those add-ons immediately," Kodi's Nate Belzen said.
Is Kodi In Trouble In The US Too?
Early on April 1, Kodi users were in a frenzy when they opened the Kodi.tv website only to open a page informing them that the domain has been seized by the Federal Government. You can see the image that spooked Kodi users below.
Even the downloads page showed no results so people were quick to panic, though Kodi said in a tweet that they are looking into it.
We are looking into it. Nobody panic
— Kodi (@KodiTV) March 31, 2017
However, some people believe that Kodi is just pulling a prank on everyone since it is April Fools' Day. If this is indeed the case, we're not sure whether to consider the prank ill or perfectly timed.