Kodi add-on users have received some huge piracy news at the beginning of the new year.
Research has suggested 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.
And as the ongoing piracy crackdown rages on Kodi add-on fans have been dealt some huge news.
European lawmakers have been busy trying to get a major shake-up of copyright laws passed.
The Copyright Directive is intended to comprehensively update copyright laws, however there are a number of controversial regulations.
Kodi crackdown – Shock piracy news revealed for add-on fans
Article 11 would enable publishers to charge fees to platforms like Google or Facebook when they show snippets of their articles.
It has been dubbed the “link tax”.
While Article 13 puts the onus on websites to ensure content their users upload does not breach copyright.
These sites would be liable for content that breaches copyright unless “effective and proportionate” measures are enforced.
Research suggests Kodi is being used in ore than five million homes
In a document online the European Parliament said these measures would include the use of “effective content recognition technologies”.
So, in essence – video sharing platforms need to ensure what gets uploaded to their sites is not in breach of copyright.
And if it does, it opens the door for rights holders to demand compensation.
It’s led to fears that Article 13, if passed, could see websites adopting ‘upload filters’ to ensure whatever is uploaded does not breach copyright.
Kodi software is perfectly legal but third-party developers can make add-ons
If that’s the case, it would have a huge impact on illegal Kodi add-ons.
These Kodi add-ons – which are made by third party developers – find and pull together pirated streams of movies and TV shows posted on the internet.
If Article 13 is enforced then that would likely significantly reduce the number of streams these add-ons can turn to.
But, it’s now been reported that Article 13 is struggling to pass through Brussels.
German MEP Julia Reda in a post online spoke about the “surprising turn of events” in the European Parliament.
Reda wrote: “National governments failed to agree on a common position on the two most controversial articles, Article 11, also known as the Link Tax, and Article 13, which would require online platforms to use upload filters in an attempt to prevent copyright infringement before it happens.
“A total of 11 countries voted against the compromise text proposed by the Romanian Council presidency earlier this week: Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Finland and Slovenia, who already opposed a previous version of the directive, as well as Italy, Poland, Sweden, Croatia, Luxembourg and Portugal.
“With the exception of Portugal and Croatia, all of these governments are known for thinking that either Article 11 or Article 13, respectively, are insufficiently protective of users’ rights.
“At the same time, some rightsholder groups who are supposed to benefit from the Directive are also turning their backs on Article 13.”
Kodi is a free-to-download piece of software
Reda added: “This surprising turn of events does not mean the end of Link Tax or censorship machines, but it does make an adoption of the copyright directive before the European elections in May less likely.”
It’s important to note that besides Kodi add-ons, Article 13 could have a huge impact on plenty of other services.
While it’s also unclear whether memes – which often are based on copyrighted images – could be affected by Article 13.
But, for the time being at least, the internet looks like it won’t have to worry about Article 13 being imminently enforced for a little while longer.
• Stay tuned to Express.co.uk for more Kodi and piracy news
Written by David Minister
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