Open source home theatre software application Kodi has unfortunately become associated with making piracy easy and user-friendly, drawing the attention of copyright holders worldwide.
This includes MultiChoice, which used sister company Irdeto to take down Kodi add-ons for Showmax and DStv Now that were developed by New Zealand programmer Matt Huisman.
The add-ons allowed Showmax and DStv subscribers to stream content available on the services via Kodi. A valid Showmax or DStv user account was required to use the add-on.
Huisman immediately complied with the order and removed the offending add-ons from his domains.
He is not the only one to have faced such takedown notices and complied with the demands, however.
CBS, the US television network known for shows like The Big Bang Theory, NCIS, and Star Trek Discovery, sent a similar takedown notice to TVAddons earlier this year.
TVAddons complied with the demand, even though it disputed that the add-ons were infringing in the first place, TorrentFreak reported.
“[We] do not feel that this merits any strikes on our repeat-infringer policy, as it was not copyright infringement. The script was simply scraping content from your own public web site,” TVAddons reportedly told CBS.
Netflix, through its association with the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), has also taken action against Kodi add-ons which the group found to “infringe their copyrights”, or aid in the infringement of their copyrights.
Two Kodi add-on developers quit the scene after receiving infringement notices from ACE, resulting in the deletion of the popular “Colossus” add-on repository.
TorrentFreak also reported that for every Kodi add-on takedown notice that makes headlines, there are many more that disappear quietly.
According to the report, lawyers target Kodi add-on developers with settlement offers as an alternative to lengthy court battles and financial ruin.
Some of these settlement offers require developers to inform on their associates, though TorrentFreak said it is not clear if anyone has agreed to such an offer. It only knows that copyright enforcers have made these offers.
The settlements also include a gag clause, preventing developers from disclosing anything about the deal they’ve accepted.
Aside from the threat of legal battles, copyright holders also go after a developer’s source of income.
In Huisman’s case, Naspers-owned Irdeto sent a notice to PayPal alleging that he had violated their intellectual property rights – resulting in PayPal terminating his account.
“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.”
PayPal did not respond to requests for comment about its termination of Huisman’s account.
Developers do have other options to generate income from their work while still giving it away for free, though.
Patreon is a popular option, but when asked for comment about what recourse creators have against false copyright claims by companies, Patreon shied away from the question.
“We take action against this content when rights holders send us a copyright notice.”