Is Kodi Legal?

Is Kodi Legal?

Kodi is an open-source media software that allows users to organize and import media, including photos, video, and audio. Kodi is a media server basically, albeit a very popular one.

As the media server became more popular, questions and concerns have been raised regarding its legality. So, is Kodi legal? This article provides all the answers you need.

History of Kodi

Before answering the question regarding Kodi’s legality, let’s look down memory lane. Kodi was initially known as XBMC, an acronym for Xbox Media Center, and was created in 2004 by XBMC Foundation. The server allowed users with modified Xbox to install extra apps while using it as a frontend for saved media.

XBMC proved widely popular, so much so that the XBMC Foundation adapted the app to fit its OS. This continued until 2014, when it changed its name to Kodi, with verson 14 being launched. Over the years, the XBMC Foundation has operated as a non-profit organization, surviving through community contributions and partnerships. Much of its growth is credited to passionate developers who have donated their skills and time to develop additional add-ons and the Kodi framework.

Is Kodi Legal?

Kodi is merely a media software server and, on its own, is as legal as every other piece of software distributed under the GNU General Public License. Even with official add-ons, the software is by itself legitimate.

But then, just as a torrent client can be used for both legal and illegal distribution of files or upload of contents, Kodi can also be used for unlawful purposes. Thus, if you plan on using unofficial add-ons on Kodi, you are essentially torrenting the media server and should treat the files the same way you would treat pirated or copyrighted content.

A good rule of thumb says that if it seems too good to be true, it’s probably too good. This phase is applicable to Kodi as well. When you question whether or not you are pirating a content, it’s best not to download such add-ons.

The XBMC Foundation is quite open about what Kodi is all about. You can find the source code for all supported devices on GitHub. The developers all work with the Software Freedom Law Center, the body that advises on issues bordering on trademark and copyright.

Given that Kodi is an open-source, free media streaming tool, some of the compatible add-ons and plug-ins can be used for illegal access to content. That said, it is entirely within the law to have a build of Kodi on any device you may have. Therefore, the onus lies in you to use the media server responsibly.

Many are not worried about piracy though. This is because they protect themselves with a VPN. A VPN masks your online activities, making it impossible for your ISP, government agencies, and any third party to detect your online activities. So, with a VPN, there’s little chance of being discovered even if you are engaged in pirating.

However, this is not to say Kodi is entirely off the radar of law enforcement agencies. In May 2017, an EU court ruled that the use of all multimedia players to stream pirated online content is subject to the same laws governing downloading illegal files. Although Kodi wasn’t explicitly mentioned, it is a multimedia player and hence subject to the same rule.

Downloading an illegally copied movie, game or show constitutes copyright infringement because it is seen as stealing, possessing, and storing a copy of the content. But with streaming, the file is temporarily stored on your PC, and according to the copyright laws, temporal copies of files are exempted from the copyright laws.

Under the new law however, temporal reproduction of copyrighted works without the copyright holder’s consent is not excluded from the ‘right of reproduction.’ Only the copyright owner can duplicate their work.

This means that people who streams unlawfully obtained TV show or movie are breaking the law, because watching videos online “adversely affects the normal exploitation of those works and causes unreasonable prejudice to the legitimate interest of the copyright holders.”

Copywriting owners lose a lot of money when people stream content without paying. The ruling posits that “In the present case and having regard, in particular, to the content of the advertising of the multimedia player and to the fact that the main attraction of that player for potential purchasers is the pre-installation of the add-ons concerned, the Court finds that the purchaser of such a player accesses a free and unauthorized offer of protected works deliberately and in full knowledge of the circumstances.”

#1 Recommended
VPN for Kodi
Disclosure: To maintain VPN Kodi, we earn a commission when you make a purchase through referral links in this review.