Will Kodi go after MLM streambox companies?
A number of streambox MLM companies have launched in the last few months, all marketing on the idea that customers can cancel their cable TV bill and instead access unlicensed content through the internet.
The streambox these companies sell make this possible, with the companies themselves selling the boxes preloaded with the required software and plugins.
Kodi is the software of choice used, with third-party plugins bundled with the streamboxes.
It is these plugins that have landed Kodi in hot water with Amazon, with the retail giant today removing Kodi from their app store.
The official reason cited by Amazon for the removal of Kodi is that the software ‘facilitate(s) the piracy or illegal download of content‘.
In an email sent to the developers of Kodi, Amazon wrote;
In reviewing your app, we determined that it can be used to facilitate the piracy or illegal download of content.
Any facilitation of piracy or illegal downloads is not allowed in our program.
Please do not resubmit this app or similar apps in the future.
What this means for Kodi going forward is unclear, but the company was quick to respond.
Speaking to TorrentFreak, XBMC Foundation board member Nathan Betzen explained that
in recent months the (Kodi) project has worked hard to distance their brand from piracy, so Amazon’s accusation is a huge disappointment.
Within the context of MLM opportunities selling Kodi streamboxes preloaded with the plugins in question (or providing software that automates the downloading of the plugins), what might come next from the Kodi team is of particular interest.
The Kodi team is actively pursuing infringing addons and sellers who abuse the brand, and is also trying to obtain a trademark so they can go after these piracy promoters more effectively.
“Most importantly, we’re working to finalize our trademark filing.
Once our trademark is registered, it becomes dramatically easier to issue takedown requests with the various organizations that provide voice for these groups advertising and selling pirate boxes,” Betzen tells TF.
“We always say we don’t care what our users do with the software, and we stand by that position. But we sure do hate it when companies destroy the name of our software in order to make a profit.”
Indeed some of these companies sell their “pirate boxes” on Amazon, raising somewhat of a conundrum, as Betzen points out;
For Amazon to ban the app is “absurd” according to the Kodi team, because the company is still allowing vendors to sell boxes that are giving the software this bad reputation.
“I assume I don’t have to tell you how absurd it is that Amazon won’t let us into their appstore, but they have no problem selling the boxes that are pushing the reason they won’t let us into their app store,” Betzen says.
Personally I’ve got nothing against Kodi, but I do think if Betzen is being genuine about Kodi’s efforts to combat blatant piracy, then streambox MLM company’s days might be numbered.
The opportunities appear to already be on the radar of the Kodi team, with a thread titled “MLM This seems to be really happening” appearing on the official Kodi forums.
Including two video links to vStreamTV promotional videos, on March 16th Kodi forum user “splatman2” asked:
Wow this is really happening in my area. This guy says directly that every movie and every TV show is available. What a liar.
It’s sad the distributors are not making the real money it’s the Top marketing folks that are let alone not Kodi.tv for the great software (Even donations to them would be cool but I’ll bet it’s not happening).
How do you folks feel?
Piers, a member of Team Kodi, was first to respond:
This looks like you’re advertising a pyramid scheme under disguise of a complaint.
Not sure how this is related to Kodi since it has nothing to do with the actual software.
NateThomas, a “Team Kodi Community Manager”, was a little less neutral:
Well that’s the most infuriating video I’ve seen today.
They didn’t even take the time to reskin it. Or even remove the Kodi logo from the screen. Puke upon puke.