Irdeto, on behalf of MultiChoice, has issued takedown requests to shut down Kodi add-ons for Showmax and DStv Now.
The add-ons were created by Matt Huisman, a developer in New Zealand.
TorrentFreak reported that the add-ons did not rip content from MultiChoice’s video services and were aimed at legitimate subscribers who had to log in with their credentials to use the apps.
Despite Huisman complying and indicating that he had no intention to contest Irdeto’s demands, the company lodged a complaint with PayPal – which terminated Huisman’s account.
Huisman did not charge for the add-ons and they were available as free downloads.
He used PayPal as a way to solicit donations on his website from people who find value in his work. His DStv and Showmax add-ons were two of many he had developed for the Kodi platform.
Kodi is an open source media player operated by the XBMC Foundation. It is a popular tool among the tech-savvy to keep their home media libraries organised. Add-ons expand the functionality of the Kodi software, including allowing users to connect to online services.
Naspers owns MultiChoice and Irdeto, which acquired anti-piracy firm Denuvo in 2018. Denuvo’s clients include game publishers such as Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, and Warner Bros.
Huisman told MyBroadband that he developed the Kodi add-ons for DStv Now and Showmax at the request of MultiChoice’s customers – who provided him with the login details he needed to test the add-ons.
While his surname might lead you to assume otherwise, Huisman said he is not South African.
“I simply made them due to requests, for the fun of it, and to drive traffic to my blog,” he said.
Huisman said he is still unsure what the actual issue was, as the add-ons provided legal subscribers a way use the services on their preferred platform.
“I had no correspondence from Irdeto except for the takedown notices.”
According to the letters Irdeto sent, Huisman was violating the copyright of the DStv Now and Showmax applications.
“The identified content provides an interface for these applications to be used via the Kodi application, which is not authorised by MultiChoice Africa Limited,” Irdeto said.
“Additionally, these applications circumvent security protocols set in place by DStv and Showmax.”
It should be noted that both of Huisman’s add-ons required a version of Kodi with support for Google’s Widevine digital rights management software. Content streamed from DStv Now and Showmax should therefore have been encrypted.
Irdeto went on to file a report with PayPal claiming that Huisman infringed upon MultiChoice’s intellectual property.
As a result, PayPal suspended Huisman’s account and invited him to complete an “Objection to Infringement” form.
However, his attempts to get his PayPal account restored were unsuccessful.
“PayPal gave me no option to restore [my account],” Huisman said. “It seems similar to YouTube copyright claims – all the power is in the claimant’s hands.”
Huisman said he managed to get his money out before his account was terminated, and has since opened a new account at PayPal.
We don’t get involved with enforcement
Speaking to MyBroadband, MultiChoice said that unauthorised apps are a challenge – whether or not they use legitimate login details.
“We’re still held accountable for the quality of the service and in some instances are expected by customers to troubleshoot and provide technical support, which we’re obviously not in a position to do,” a spokesperson said.
“Unauthorised apps can also be used to harvest users’ login information and execute other malicious code – which is something we try to protect our customers from.”
Regarding the termination of Huisman’s PayPal account, MultiChoice said it doesn’t get involved in enforcement activities, so it’s difficult to comment on the case.
“But in general, actions will be taken against sites which use the intellectual property of another company and accept payment or donations for this activity.”
MultiChoice said it doesn’t have specific plans with respect to Kodi add-ons for either Showmax or DStv Now in the near future.