Kodi has been hitting headlines due to confusion over the streaming app’s legality. Although Kodi’s developers originally intended the software to be a home theatre app, Kodi is now synonymous with illegal streaming. So are the millions who use Kodi to stream TV shows, sports and films breaking the law?
Kodi is a free, open-source software designed with home entertainment in mind.
Kodi was originally designed for the Microsoft Xbox, and called Xbox Media Center (XBMC).
And Kodi has since continued to evolve and grow, creating a community of fans and developers.
Since being created in 2003, Kodi has been shaped by hundreds of software developers and translators.
This means Kodi can now be customised by installing add-ons or builds, and they are totally free.
Is Kodi legal?
The Kodi app, on all the platforms on which it is available, is totally legal to download, install, and use.
If the app was illegal, it would not be found on the Apple App Store or Google Play.
The illegality of Kodi arises not from the app itself, but from the way in which some people use the app.
Kodi was initially designed to allow users to manage, and watch your existing library of owned content.
If you own a program or film either bought online or ripped from a DVD, you can watch it through Kodi without concerns.
Because Kodi is open-source, anyone can develop add-ons for the app.
These add-ons arrive in many forms – they can offer access to services, extra features and improved functionality.
However, many third-party add-ons fall into the illegal category.
And Kodi Exodus, a Kodi add-on offering unlimited access to content, is legally ambiguous as most of it content is pirated – which is illegal.
There are plenty of similar apps available, with some supplying on-demand content, while others focus on live TV.
All these add-ons have one thing in common: they offer access to content which you do not have the legal right to watch.
These illegal add-ons are not endorsed nor approved by anyone connected with the Kodi Foundation.
Anyone using the add-ons will not be immune from prosecution.
Although the add-on designers are most at risk home users can be caught in the crossfire.
Kieron Sharp, chief executive of the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), said in 2017: “We are looking at the people who are providing the apps and add-ons, the developers.
“And then we’ll also be looking at, at some point, the end user.
“The reason for end users to come into this is that they are committing criminal offences.”
The maximum possible sentence for online copyright infringement in the UK recently increased from two to 10 years in prison.
And the average jail term in the US is 3-5 years.
Written by David Minister