Is Kodi Legal? | All You Need To Know

Kodi, previously known as XBMC (Xbox Media Center) until 2014, is a one-stop media center. It is a free-to-use, open-source software developed by the Kodi Foundation. This means users can customize it as they wish with no ramifications. Team Kodi is a team of volunteers who maintain and develop the official software.

Kodi runs on operating systems such as Windows and Linux and hardware platforms such as Raspberry Pi. This versatility has been brought in part by its team of volunteers who have extended its reach across the different operating systems.

The fact that Kodi is open source makes it subject to abuse by some independent developers who use it to distribute pirated or unlicensed content over the internet. Therefore, there have been numerous copyright infringement cases by unaffiliated developers who produce third party addons allowing users to access pirated content.

Concerned parties such as ISPs, broadcasters, and government agencies are still cracking down on these illegal third-party addons. This brings us to the question – is Kodi legal?

Well, let’s find out.

How Is Kodi Legal?

Kodi is a legal software that you can use to manage your media in one place. That said, how you use Kodi is what makes the difference.

For instance, if you use Kodi to access geo-restricted content, you may break the law. 

Given that Kodi is an open-source software, some developers have created their own add-ons leveraging its functionality. Unauthorized addons breach streaming services terms of use; this is where the legal aspect comes in.

Therefore, accessing movies and TV shows that are geo-restricted using these addons can be considered illegal activity. Illegal activity can also include downloading addons that aid in accessing piracy streams from the internet. 

Does Kodi Offer Its Own Content?

One thing to note is that Kodi does not provide any media, whether as video content or music. This media player is designed so that you, the user, provides the media you wish to stream.

For instance, if you want to stream movies or other TV shows, Kodi expects you to use legitimate sites to do so. Kodi is basically a media player because it does not provide any content. 

Are Kodi Boxes Legal?

Kodi boxes are set-top boxes with a pre-installed software that allows users to stream shows or movies on any platform. It is legal to buy, own or watch free content using a Kodi box.

However, some set-top-boxes distributors sell fully-loaded Kodi boxes with pre-installed addons that aid illegal streaming. 

These are modified set-top boxes that allow users to access paid content or geo-restricted shows using third-party add-ons. In simple terms, with such a set-top box, you can watch premium shows and events without paying. Some salesmen often promise the ability to stream free shows when selling such boxes, which violates Kodi’s terms of use.

Can You Be Prosecuted If You Own Or Distribute ‘Fully-loaded’ Kodi Boxes?

The answer is YES. Buying or selling modified set-top boxes can land you in trouble with the relevant authorities. These devices are created in such a way that they can access subscription-only TV channels.

In some countries, law enforcement officers can apprehend you for copyright infringement if you’re found using a modified Kodi box to access paid content. Therefore, only buy genuine Kodi boxes not loaded with third-party add-ons.

Consequences Of Using Kodi To Stream Unlicensed Content

Using Kodi to access illegal streaming sites is prohibited by the Kodi Foundation, and you may be subject to legal action or banned from the platform. The Kodi Foundation promotes the safe use of its platform, discourages illicit streaming and other nefarious activities.

Why Does Kodi Allow Third-Party Developers?

Kodi media player is an open-source software, opening doors for developers to create their own add-ons. It therefore does not shut the door on Kodi third party addons that operate in the legal grey area. But some of these add-ons give users access to pirated content. 

Does Kodi Have Official AddOns?

Kodi doesn’t come with pre-installed add-ons but has an official repository where you’ll find thousands of add-ons that give you access to free streams and live shows. Users can install the add-ons from the installation package provided on the Kodi app free of charge.

You can, however, install unofficial add-ons by allowing installation from unknown sources. This is what makes some people question the legality of Kodi. 

For instance, if a user installs an unofficial add-on and uses it to view pirated or copyrighted content, does the blame lie solely on Kodi, the user, or the add-on developer?

But as we’ve discussed before, the Kodi Foundation does not advocate for piracy or any other illegal activity on their platform. 

How To Protect Your Data When Using Unofficial Kodi Addons

When using third party Kodi addons, your security and privacy can be easily compromised. Hackers can add Trojan horses to the extensions you’ve installed and exploit your data. 

If you have to download an unofficial Kodi addon, it is advisable to ensure you have active antivirus software on your device. Alternatively, you may install a malware security VPN service like CyberGhost to protect your data and improve security.

Once you download the unofficial add-on, scan your device for malware. Failure to do this means hackers can access your files, leak them online or even sell them to a third party.

How Many Users Does Kodi Have?

As a media player, Kodi comes in handy when you want to access all your content in one place. Kodi plays your movies or documentaries, whether they are local or online-based.

Kodi media cent has seen a massive spike in its users since it was released in 2004. As stated by Security Gladiators, the MPAA (Motion Pictures Association of America) estimated approximately 38 million Kodi users in 2017. 

Third-Party Kodi Addons Popularity Explained

The official Kodi addons are few and have limited functionalities. Many users opt for third-party add-ons, which exposes them to security and privacy risks. Some of these add-ons offer illegal streaming capabilities to users who want to access premium content for free, which is considered illegal.

Why You May Need To Use A VPN Service For Kodi

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are often used for many reasons, privacy being on top of the list.

But, if you want to use Kodi add-ons that need network access, a reliable Kodi VPN comes in handy. They help prevent your internet service provider and government agencies from tracking your online activities.

Who Are Team Kodi?

As mentioned earlier, Team Kodi develops and maintains the official Kodi software. Here are some of the things Team Kodi does:

  • Develops and maintains the software and leads efforts to expand it on many platforms.
  • Maintains the download server, wiki, and official website of Kodi. This involves creating updates and responding to frequently-asked-questions on Kodi forums.

How To Become A Team Kodi Developer

To become a Kodi apps developer, you need to be proficient in C++ regardless of your rank. This software provides an opportunity for young developers to contribute to such a product while sharpening their skills.

How Non-Developers Can Contribute To Kodi

There are other ways you can contribute to Kodi if you are not inclined to writing code. 

You can donate to the Kodi Foundation through various platforms such as Bitcoin, LiberaPay, Amazon Smile, Patreon, PayPal, and a wire transfer. You can donate once or have a recurring donation scheduled.

If you are a corporate body, you can set up a partnership and have a corporate sponsorship set up. The donations and corporate sponsorships help to fund the Kodi Foundation’s activities.

These activities range from conferences to administrative costs.

You can also visit Kodi’s forum and connect with the community. With members from all over the world, you can learn more about Kodi and take part in its future developments.

Is Kodi Legal Final Words

In short, yes – Kodi is legal and you are not breaking any laws when using it.

Kodi media center is an open source software that has been the subject of debate regarding its legality.

But there is no doubt Kodi is legal unless used for illegal activities discussed earlier in this article. That said, this should not prevent you from enjoying it or even contributing to the software.

If you are looking for a media content player with a beautiful user interface and also incorporates all your media files under one platform, Kodi is a great place to start.