MPAA: Kodi Abusers Are Growing Video Piracy Threat

The Motion Picture Association of America has warned that the Kodi open-source media player software is abetting the emerging global threat of streaming video piracy.

In comments to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) on "the world’s most notorious markets for content theft," the MPAA said that while Kodi was not itself illegal, it can be easily configured to direct web users to pirated TV and film content.

"Websites enable one-click installation of modified software onto set-top boxes or other internet-connected devices," the MPAA said. Then the software taps into an "infringing ecosystem" of content add-ons and portals, with more than 750 websites offering such infringing devices or software.

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"Online content theft undermines the economic success of film and television, threatens the livelihoods of millions of creators, and harms consumers by spreading viruses and malware," MPAA told the USTR. "In particular, streaming device piracy – enabled by preloaded piracy devices and unauthorized add-ons – poses a significant and evolving challenge. Today, 6% of North American households own a device with software configured to access pirated content."

MPAA also said that of the 38 million active Kodi users, 26 million use piracy add-on repository

The group said such infringing traffic hurts not only copyright holders, but users who are more subject to malware, which is a revenue source for pirate sites.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.