Yesterday was rife with April Fool’s jokes and visitors to Kodi’s main website, Kodi.tv, were greeted with an image and message that was cause for alarm. Given the issues and publicity Kodi has been receiving lately, especially in the U.K., even though it was April 1st, the Kodi website seizure was more than believable.
Thos who visited the site saw the image above which had the seizure message below:
This domain name has been seized by ICE – Homeland Security Investigations, pursuant to a seizure warrant issued by a United States District Court under the authority of 18 U.S.C 981 and 2323.
Willful copyright infringement is a federal crime that carries penalties for first time offenders of up to five years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine forfeiture and restitution (17 U.S.C 506, 18 U.S.C 2319). Intentionally and knowingly trafficking in counterfeit goods is a federal crime that carries penalties for first time offenders of up to ten years in federal prison, a $2,000,000 fine, forfeiture and restitution (18 U.S.C 2320)
Thankfully, it turns out that it was indeed an April Fool’s joke to partially cover for a new website re-design and launch, but Kodi is also taking this opportunity to bring to light the issues they’ve had recently with the media.
However, despite the “seized-and-offline” gag, there’s a serious message here. It is genuinely true that we’re facing a constant tidal wave of piracy boxes, trademark infringements and erroneous (or outright misleading) news reports. Hardly a day goes past without the Kodi brand getting dragged into the mud somewhere, and it is a continuous and thankless task to push back on that across this forum, Facebook, Twitter, and the press.
As you can see from the statement above, there’s nothing wrong with Kodi in itself, but rather the way individuals are choosing to bundle it with third-party add-ons that allow for streaming or downloading of unlicensed content. These individuals then turn around and sell their Android TV boxes, advertised with Kodi pre-installed (still nothing wrong there), as “free TV” boxes (wherein lies the issue).
Since it’s beginnings as XBMC (Xbox Media Center), Kodi has always been a great little open source media hub for streaming content from your other devices to your Xbox or between each other. The add-on system allows you to install many different add-ons, mostly developed by third parties, that allow you to customize Kodi or access different kinds of content, some legally but unfortunately a lot illegally as many consumers look for ways to cut their cable services to save a buck or two.
Kodi’s April Fool’s gag was an opportunity to remind people that they do not provide content whatsoever, and thus are doing nothing wrong or illegal. However, being an open source product, that does bring about some issues.
So, let’s be clear: Kodi does not provide content. It never has, and it never will. However, in the spirit and freedom of open source, we make no limitations on what other people choose to do with the program. We cannot morally or legally prevent people from modifying the code or shipping it with whatever hidden dangers they choose to: all we can do is defend our trademark and keep our own house (this site and forum) clean.
Unfortunately, it’s not an easy task for a bunch of volunteers to track down every infringement of the trademarked Kodi name given their limited resources. Thankfully the recent media coverage hasn’t deterred those behind Kodi and their “vision for Kodi remains to make it the best media hub in the industry,” and it sounds like they are open to working with content providers so they can “defeat the piracy addons with superior, legitimate sources.”Source: Kodi