Is Kodi Legal?
Kodi has become very popular recently, but it has also spent lots of time in the headlines due to people being confused over the question of whether the app is legal or not. The most common questions that therefore arise are: Is Kodi legal? or Is Kodi illegal?
In short, yes, Kodi is legal. As long as you stick to its official add-ons. the upcoming article, we’ll answer these questions and explain how to use Kodi without concern.
What is Kodi?
Kodi, formerly known as XBMC, is free, open-source software that allows you to play videos, podcasts, music and other media files from the internet. Basically, it is a media player that enables you to stream almost anything.
While other media players are primarily used to play video and audio files that are locally stored on a user’s device, Kodi is mainly used for streaming media files over the internet. It permits its users to stream their favorite content from TV shows, movies, news, sports, documentaries, live TV, etc.
The software is compatible with OSX, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android and more.
Launched in 2002 as an Xbox Media player that was meant to be a simple home theatre app, it changed its name to Kodi in 2014 and expanded its features. Now its name is unfortunately often associated with illegal streaming.
But is Kodi legal? Due to some legal troubles in the past, it is only natural that people have developed concerns over the software’s legality.
Kodi is very straightforward, which is visible right immediately after launching it as it has an easy-to-use interface.
It’s possible to change the appearance of the interface using Kodi skins and they offer different icon styles, icon placements, wallpapers, templates, and designs.
Your collection of TV shows, movies, music, and photos, as well as online content available for streaming, can all be viewed on your computer, tablet, smartphone, and TV. All the files in your media library can stay well organized.
- Your movie and TV library presents the files with images and detailed information about the entries
- Your music can be sorted in different ways, with album artworks and information about songs, albums, and artists
- pictures can be sorted into photo albums
- Live TV can be watched, as well as recorded
- UPnP feature allows you to connect two computers so that they can access each other’s libraries
- Connecting to different services is possible with web interfaces, such as connecting a remote control or installing add-ons
- Third-party components can be added, such as add-ons, builds, and skins, which can change the appearance of the interface and add different features
Regarding the release of the software’s new version (Kodi 19), it will be named Kodi Matrix and released sometime between November 2019 and January 2020, though there has been no official announcement yet.
It is expected to have the following features:
- Internal Web Browser support
- Improved AirPlay Support
- Samsung Smart TV Support
- Improved 3D Video playback
- Smart home integration (Amazon Alexa and Google Home)
- Official integration of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Videos and more
How does it work?
As previously mentioned, Kodi is a media player, allowing you to watch media you own just like any other media player out there.
However, what makes Kodi stand out from other media players is the fact that its users can watch almost anything on it. This is made possible by Kodi add-ons which are essentially a bridge between the media player itself and the media on the internet. Some of these add-ons are free, while others are subscription-only.
Since Kodi is open-source software, anyone can create add-ons for it. There are add-ons for live TV, music, sports content and more. Still, not all of these add-ons created by third parties are legal.
Kodi’s Legal Past
After changing its name from Xbox Media Center to Kodi, the software has developed rapidly and improved due to money donations and different partnerships with developers.
Lately, there have been legal threats against third-party developers of the software. Some of these developers were even arrested, and the add-ons they had created were shut down as a result of legal reasons.
Some add-ons were created to help break the law and are illegal. However, these aren’t so easy to find, which is why there has been a rise of pre-loaded media players that have a variety of these illegal add-ons. These are generally referred to as ‘fully loaded’ boxes.
The European Court of Justice decided the sale of these was illegal in April 2017. Streaming copyrighted content without having the copyrighted holder’s consent was also ruled illegal. Since then, certain box sellers have been sentenced to prison, with sentences ranging from 18 months to 5 years of jail time.
Online platforms such as Facebook, Amazon, and eBay have forbidden the sale of these boxes in 2017, even though it seems the boxes are still easy to find. Some sellers were able to avoid the bans because they purposely misspelled keywords, namely the names of content providers.
What’s more, in August 2018 Facebook banned sales of devices with Kodi installed, even those without piracy-configured add-ons. The only add-ons permitted were the ones for keyboards and remote controls.
The Motion Picture Association of America asked for tougher sentences for creators of the illegal add-ons, as well as sellers and users of the aforementioned devices.
Kodi has decided to keep its distance from third-party developers and their add-ons. It has even attempted to close off all streaming plug-ins and has asked users not to relate the company’s name with boxes loaded with third-party add-ons.
The software is perfectly legal when it is used without third-party illegal add-ons. Even so, Kodi users cannot be prevented in downloading unofficial add-ons seeing as how the software is open-source. These add-ons also do not need to be approved.
In order to get rid of some well-known repositories, Kodi has teamed up with networks like Netflix, HBO, and others. Despite this, new third-party Kodi add-ons have replaced the old ones that were taken down. Unfortunately, little has been gained by Kodi’s efforts as new unofficial add-ons keep being developed.
There is a built-in repository which lets you install official Kodi add-ons, in order to prevent the installation of unofficial ones.
The following are official Kodi add-ons and work very well:
- iPlayer WWW
- NBC Live Extra
- Fox Sports Go
- PBS Kids
Below are more add-ons which are unofficial, but also work well:
- Exodus Kodi
- Poseidon Kodi
- Gurzil Kodi
- Placenta Kodi
- Mobdro Kodi (StreamHub)
- cCloud TV Kodi
- Genesis Reborn Kodi
- Fantastic Kodi
Be careful of the risks unofficial add-ons present, as they more likely contain malware, and often have pirated content.
Is Kodi Legal?
To answer the legality question: Yes, Kodi is legal. As long as you stick to its official add-ons.
The Kodi app’s official repository makes it easier to access its official add-ons. How do you figure out which add-ons are third-party add-ons? The answer is very simple: they are those which are not endorsed by Kodi in its repository.
Unfortunately, official Kodi add-ons do not offer free TV shows and movies. What’s more, some of these add-ons do not even work properly. This is one of the reasons why plenty of people use third-party add-ons to watch free videos.
Unofficial add-ons are not associated with the software in any way since they are developed by developers who do not work for Kodi and are independent.
As far as online streaming is concerned, it all depends on what kind of content you are streaming. It is legal as long as you make sure the movie’s owner has allowed the viewers to watch it for free. If they have given the rights to viewers, then it is perfectly legal. If not, watching copyrighted material for free is usually prohibited.
Kodi’s official add-ons are created by their owners: for instance, NBC Live Extra is created by NBC, while iPlayer WWW Kodi is created by BBC. These are, therefore, perfectly legal to stream.
Not all unofficial Kodi add-ons are illegal, though. There are some legal ones that stop buffering issues or clear cache, for example.
In order to end piracy, Kodi joined forces with Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and other services.
When is Kodi Illegal?
As you have probably already realized from reading the text so far, Kodi is legal, unless you install unofficial illegal add-ons.
Third-party add-ons let you watch movies and TV shows get the material from Torrents, which is why severe measures have been taken to restrict third-party developers and their add-ons.
As previously mentioned, fully-loaded boxes with pre-installed third-party add-ons are also illegal since they let you watch content for free, without having permission for it.
Fully loaded boxes are often advertised on different sites, such as Craigslist. They are preloaded with add-ons which lets you watch live TV streams and other content, illegally. Therefore, buying and using them is against the law.
However, there are also regular Kodi boxes that aren’t illegal as they do not contain unofficial add-ons.
Is Kodi Safe?
While Kodi provides guarantees for its official add-ons, it does not take responsibility for the unofficial add-ons. There are some unofficial add-ons that purposely hide malware within their files which tracks your activity online.
Therefore, it is definitely safe to use Kodi if you are using official add-ons only. Kodi itself does not contain malicious programs and will not pose threats to your device.
Kodi can be found on various app stores that scrutinize and test the apps before hosting them. For this reason, Kodi is safe software that will not cause any harm to your device. Neither will its official Kodi add-ons.
Still, you must be careful of any third-party add-ons you’re installing. There are many safe ones, but this isn’t always so. Pay attention to the source from which you’re downloading it and check that it is trustworthy.
Downloading popular add-ons that have been used by users for a while are your best choice. A few of them were mentioned a couple of paragraphs ago.
“We are committed to protecting your personal information once we have it. We implement physical, business and technical security measures. Despite our efforts, if we learn of a security breach, we’ll notify you so that you can take appropriate protective steps. We also don’t want your personal information for any longer than we need it, so we only keep it long enough to do what we collected it for. Once we don’t need it, we take steps to destroy it unless we are required by law to keep it longer. In the case of logs provided to us in the forums, our servers do not store those logs, and we rely on the users submitting those logs to remove the links when they deem appropriate.”
So is Kodi legal and is Kodi safe? Yes, if you use it for the purpose of entertainment and do not sell or distribute pirate content. Still, it’s good to always check the rules in your region or country.
Someone may be snooping on you and trying to see what you’re doing online. This is when having a good VPN for Kodi will come in handy, since a VPN hides your online activities from potential spies.
Getting a good VPN is strongly advised before starting to use Kodi for streaming.
A VPN masks online actions from your device, so that hackers and the Government cannot track down your activities. It also encrypts your connection through a private server, meaning that nobody can see what you have been streaming with Kodi.
A VPN we strongly recommend is the ExpressVPN as it is highly secure. Its encryption technology guarantees its users 100% anonymity. Moreover, it has a no-logs policy, a kill switch, as well as an IP and DNS leak protection.
ExpressVPN has a large server network and covers almost 100 countries. Due to this, its standards remain high and its performance exceptional.
It is compatible with iOS, Mac, Windows, Android, FireStick and more. Besides Kodi, you can also use it with other apps.
The Bottom Line
To sum up, Kodi is definitely safe and legal to use when watching copyrighted content whose sources have authorized it, i.e. when Kodi is in its original state, without any unofficial add-ons.
Kodi’s activities only become illegal is when it is used to stream licensed content for free. Though users rarely attract penalties for this kind of online activity, distributors and sellers of pirated content or devices with such content are violating the law and may be penalized or even sent to jail.
In case you are planning on downloading an unofficial app and plan on using it for watching movies and TV shows which are not in the public domain without a fee, you should start using a VPN, as a VPN would hide your online activities from anyone lurking to see what you have been up to.
Essentially, It really depends on how you’re using the app: to make sure you’re not doing something illegal, only use add-ons from Kodi’s repository and watch files that you already own.