We’re guilty of it. As soon as big telecom threatened us, we changed our site policies to reflect those of North Korea. Up until now, not a single court in the world has been given the opportunity to either affirm or denounce the legality of Kodi addons. Why? Copyright bullies are trying to shut everyone down long before the the matter of addon legality can be assesed by any court of law. Developers are quitting soon as soon billion dollar corporations come knocking, and who could blame them?
Under civil law, you don’t have the same protections as you would under criminal law. Your freedom is not at risk, only your money; so individual rights aren’t paramount. Whoever has the most money can easily bleed you dry using draconian legal maneuvers meant to censor and eliminate the participation of the little guy. It takes deep pockets to even stand a chance at proving your case in court.
We’re currently fighting two different lawsuits, one in the United States, and one in Canada. As far as we’re concerned, we should not be held liable for user generated content. How could Facebook or Twitter stay in business if they were to be sued over the things their users post? We thought the law was quite clear in regards to online communities and user generated content, but that hasn’t stopped anyone from suing us.
As for Kodi addons themselves, just because something exists that “could potentially” be used for illicit purposes, does not mean it should be outlawed. Addon developers have zero control over what content is posted to web sites they scrape. If certain content is problematic for rightsholders, they should use the law to go after the source, instead of trying to bully innocent open source coders into submission.
Since when is it illegal to distribute code for theoretical purposes? Addon scraper code is all open source and the code itself doesn’t violate anyone’s intellectual property rights. It takes quite a few steps to go from downloading an addon to using it to stream content, and who’s to say that it isn’t being used to stream entirely legitimate content? A few Hollywood giants may own a huge share of the market, but they don’t own all the content on the internet.
Although the status quo is ever changing, the one thing that stays the same is that those on top do not want disruptive technologies emerging that threaten their reign. If Uber didn’t have billions of dollars in investment capital, they would have been eliminated by the taxi industry on day one. Same goes for VCR manufaturers, and even the internet as we know it.
The people who sell preloaded “Kodi boxes,” are the ones breaking the law. They’re selling cheap Android boxes from China bundled with sketchy apps, while marketing them piracy boxes. They’re the cause of all the recent legal pressure. We’ve never benefited from the sales of any preloaded Kodi boxes, in fact we strongly denounced them from day one.
Cars are designed to surpass the legal speed limit, guns can kill people, so can cigarettes and caffeine. Should anything that can be abused to infringe on someone’s rights be outlawed? Maybe we should just give the movie industry control over the whole internet and call it a day. We need to set an example for future generations, we need to protect innovation and individual rights before it’s too late!
Until we’ve had a chance to prove our case in court, we suggest that all developers exercise their right to anonymity. Even if you didn’t do anything wrong, the powers that be will still employ draconian legal maneuvers designed to make your life a living hell. Sites like GitHub and Twitter are fine, as long as you use a VPN at all times.
At the end of the day, if you use a VPN, while leveraging services like ProtonMail and GitHub, no one will ever be able to mess with you. gitMask is worth taking a look at too. We need more people to step up, contributing code and distributing addons. There are many reasons why people develop Kodi addons, what will be yours?
We’ll soon be reversing our interim content submission policy to reflect that of other online communities like Facebook, Twitter and Reddit. There’s no reason why our rules should be stricter than theirs. This community will once again foster innovation and freedom of speech.