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 If you haven’t heard of Kodi, it’s time you two met

 

Probably the hottest ticket in any conversation about online video misappropriation is Kodi, formerly known as Xbox Media Center, and a curiously difficult- to-describe host of pirated video content! “Pirated” usually meaning streamed, as opposed to downloaded, via a large, growing, and digitally nimble marketplace of apps. “Curiously hard to describe” because it’s both hardware and software; both legit and accomplice. “Don’t do this! Here’s how you do this.”

Kodi describes itself as “open source home theater software” that can be “sideloaded” into mainstream streaming devices -- like any in the Amazon Fire TV family, for instance. Online sales giants Amazon, eBay, Craigslist market Kodi devices -- although it’s worth mentioning that Amazon is part of the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, which is actively prosecuting the Kodi box-makers (more on this later.) That makes Amazon the only major online store to screen for and remove Kodi boxes.

 

News of video piracy developments tends to generate a noticeable uptick in online buzz. Witness Facebook’s sales ban of Kodi and other “jailbroken” streamers in August, which spiked the “shared link” metrics in the cord cutting community. (Kodi’s own Facebook page had 437,499 followers on Nov 1.)

You’ll find lots (lots) more information about how Kodi goes to market, including details of what is a three- pronged hardware / subscription /ad-supported model, in this very thorough technical paper, written by Comcast’s Don Jones and delivered at the 2018 SCTE Cable-Tec Expo. In short, Kodi is a thing, and will weave throughout the remainder of this document.

Why this matters: Kodi is open source, which is good for massively collaborative expansion. But when concerted expansion is focused on theft, massively collaborative counter-measures are required.