Kodi Promises To Remain Open Source In Face Of New EU Court Ruling

The folks over at the XBMC Foundation have today published a new blog post in which they outline what a new court ruling means for Kodi, and the users of perhaps the planet’s most popular media center software. The post details a new judgement by the EU Court of Justice regarding so-called pirate boxes, and the sale or use of them by individuals in the EU.

As the post explains, there are actually two angles to this new judgement, and both should be looked at individually.

The first of those is the ruling that selling boxes with Kodi pre-installed along with links to illegal content is now definitely illegal in EU countries. Kodi has become synonymous with such boxes with many, many unscrupulous sellers building low cost boxes, often using RaspberryPi, and installing Kodi along with the means required to watch streams of movies and sports that the end-user never actually pays for.

This is now illegal, meaning those sellers have been deemed to be involved in “communication to the public” of copyrighted content.

The second angle relates to the users of such boxes. Are such streams a copyright violation by the user? Well, yes, which means anyone watching such a stream of content is breaking the law “because such streams are not authorized by copyright holder and because they likely will result in reduced sales by the copyright holder.”

The XBMC Foundation has no issue with the first part of the judgement, although its stance on the second is that it wants nothing to do with whatever users actually use its software for. This makes sense given the fact Kodi is not built for such content, but rather consuming media in general. The fact so many appear to have latched onto Kodi as their source of streaming such content should perhaps not be something the app or the team behind it is blamed for.

With that said, even though pirate streaming appears to be illegal in Europe, we still stand by our neutral policy. We are developers and not the police, and we have no interest in acting as police for our own software. Kodi will remain as free and as open as it always has. Feel free to continue using Kodi however you want. To us Kodi is and always will be just a tool, like a hammer, and how you choose to use that tool is up to you.

That seems fair to us.

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