We probably should have reported on this sooner, but recently this issue became a bit more serious. It has been reported that criminal gangs are now in the business of selling preloaded Kodi boxes, and this is bringing legal trouble to the whole Kodi ecosystem. There’s a lot of misinformation that’s been spread throughout the Kodi community, mainly by those by seek to profit from our hard work. We all need to act responsibly in order to ensure the continued existence of our community.
We’re going to start by defining the term “box seller” in order to avoid confusion. The term “box seller” refers to someone who is selling Android TV boxes preloaded with Kodi addons. These are the people you’ll find with kiosks in your local shopping mall, at the flea market, on Craigslist, and even on eBay. We’re not referring to legitimate companies like NVIDIA, Xiaomi, Amazon or MINIX, who manufacture quality Android TV boxes, and do not ship with any preinstalled addons.
As a consumer, you should be aware that most box sellers out there are not selling the best possible hardware for Kodi. They are selling the boxes that they buy for cheap from China, which they can make the most money off. These cheap Chinese boxes have very high defect rates, and are nowhere near future proof. There’s no reason to pay for low quality hardware, when you can get some of the best brand name Kodi hardware for under $100 anyway.
The type of people attracted to selling these type of sketchy products generally aren’t the most honorable nor educated of individuals. We’ve taken notice to the fact that most box sellers out there outright lie to their customers about the reliability of the product, and provide nowhere near the quality of support promised, if there’s any support at all. We get dozens of emails per week asking us for refunds (when we never sold anything to anyone), some box sellers even claim to be associated to us.
The first reason we have a problem with these people is because they are bringing the type of legal trouble that could potentially lead to the total downfall of the Kodi community. In terms of legality, there isn’t much trouble that can arise from sharing open source code that allows for the scraping of web content. It becomes a whole other story when you’re bundling it together as a free TV product and selling it as opposed to giving it away for free. We have nothing to do with these people and since they do absolutely nothing positive for the Kodi community, they should feel ashamed for tarnishing the Kodi name.
The second reason we have a problem with them is because we’re the ones spending thousands of hours writing and maintaining the addons, meanwhile they are taking what we give away for free and selling it for huge profits. We don’t do what we do so that some low life can go around selling it to people, if those people want to use Kodi or our addons, they should download it for free and install it for themselves, that way they’ll actually be able to maintain their Kodi device in the future. Right now, we end up with pissed off box seller customers coming to our forums and abusing our developers, since they feel they are owed the support they paid for.
Lastly, there is the whole paid IPTV thing that box sellers are pushing. These services are plaguing our community, with new ones popping up and shutting down every month. They are trying to turn our community into something it is not, a marketplace. The only reason the Kodi community exists is because of sharing and open source collaboration, charging people money for illegitimate access to streams is not part of that equation. These paid IPTV services have caught the eye (rightfully so) of many broadcasters, with the Kodi community being collateral damage.
The moral of the story is if you’re going to use Kodi or Kodi addons, please buy Kodi hardware only from legitimate retailers and not from criminals who are going to rip you off. Profiteers are causing us nothing but grief, contributing absolutely nothing to the community, and are bringing the type of trouble that could very well one day lead to the end of Kodi as we know it.