Amazon pulls Kodi media player from app store over piracy claims
Tue 16 Jun 2015
Amazon has banned the Kodi media player from its app store on the grounds that it enables piracy. The software itself does not link through to or host any pirated copy, but external add-ons have led to the app being blacklisted.
Amazon has been screening its app marketplace for problematic apps that host illegal content and last week removed all links to the popular media centre Kodi, formerly kown as XBMC.
“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,” Amazon informed Kodi. The Amazon support team added: “Please do not resubmit this app or similar apps in the future.”
The Kodi app is in itself an entirely legitimate media platform which does not host any illegal content. However, there are a number of third-party extensions which encourage users to stream and download pirated films and TV shows.
According to Kodi, it is working hard to hunt out infringing add-ons which tar the company’s brand. The company has said that it hopes to gain trademark rights so that they can actively pursue these piracy vendors.
“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,” explained XBMC Foundation board member Nathan Betzen.
He added: “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.”
Betzen continued to argue how “absurd” the pull-down is, given that Amazon still sells this space to third-parties with malintent.
He also suggested that the decision would hurt Amazon, with many Kodi users buying compatible Amazon products such as Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Fire TV Sticks. “Compatibility with our software makes for a really simple backdoor for entering the Amazon ecosystem,” said Betzen.