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Do Kodi Developers Have the Right to Monitor End Users for Infringing Activity? Some People Seem to Think So!

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At least two Kodi skin developers have already pushed a dependency that monitors end user devices for “infringing” addons. Several legitimate repositories maintained by official Kodi developers have already been mistakenly blacklisted. Outrage has sparked amongst end users who feel that Kodi is only popular because of the addons which it now vilifies!

Kodi is an open source media center that has skyrocketed into mainstream popularity due to the fact that it gives end users the right to choose. Kodi (formerly XBMC) has always been about choice: giving the end user the ability to choose what they want to watch, how they want to watch, and what they want their interface to look like.

Due to the rise in cheap Chinese Android TV boxes in recent years, Kodi has been mislabelled as a piracy product; by those who seek profit and those who are too ignorant to understand the divison between Kodi and the unofficial addon community. This mislabelling is very harmful to the Kodi brand, and has caused certain “legitimate” Kodi kncaretaker - Do Kodi Developers Have the Right to Monitor End Users for Infringing Activity? Some People Seem to Think So!developers to become radicalized.

The whole debate stems from a newly released addon called the KN Addon Caretaker, created by German Kodi developer Birger Jesch. Once installed, this addon constantly checks which addons the user has installed, and then compares them to an online database of “problematic” addons. Should the KN Addon Caretaker detect a banned addon, it will constantly display a nag message until the addons at question are disabled:

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The online database of “problematic” addons is in itself extremely problematic. At least two legitimate repositories, created by official Kodi developers MathsGrinds and MetalChris, have been wrongly blacklisted. This list appears to be arbitrarily maintained by a single LibreELEC team member known as CvH. LibreELEC is the successor to OpenELEC, a popular Linux fork of Kodi, and has always taken a more aggressive stance towards piracy.

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Now the issue isn’t really about the existence of the KN Addon Caretaker, since those who manually install that addon consent to its use. Earlier today, we heard reports of a “malicious” update being pushed to the Estuary MOD V2 and Embuary skins. The developers behind those skins (Guilouz and sualfred) were tired of their work being used in conjunction with infringing addons and decided to include the KN Addon Caretaker as a dependency to their latest updates.

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This means that anyone using those skins would automatically have the KN Addon Caretaker installed onto their Kodi box. Understandably, end users are outraged. Some are even calling it spyware! At least one official team Kodi member also spoke out against the move. Both skin developers defended their actions with one term: self-protection. We’re not sure who these guys are trying to protect, because end users wouldn’t have unofficial addons installed unless they wanted them.

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This seems like another attack against the addons that made Kodi popular in the first place. As abusive lawsuits have began to plague the unofficial Kodi community, we’ve noticed an alarming trend in official Kodi developers attacking the unofficial addon community, within the official Kodi forums as well as over social media. Many of these attacks are unwarranted considering the fact that once upon a time Kodi itself was home to many of the addons which they now claim to hate.

We sincerely hope that Kodi will continue to operate based on open source principals, and not allow this trend of vilifying unofficial addon developers to spread further. We’re all on the same side and all serve the same users. We strongly believe that end users should always have the right to choose, otherwise what’s the point? Please let us know how you feel in the comments below.

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Please remember that our community is supported entirely by volunteers, developers are not paid and updates made to their addons are made during their free time.