Kodi hits out at ‘trademark trolls’
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A non-profit organisation representing companies in several technology industries has slammed the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) for allegedly mischaracterising the impact of Kodi software on IP infringement.
The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) wrote to the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR)—which is preparing the latest instalment of its “Notorious Markets” list—to defend the legitimate nature of the software.
Matt Schruers, vice president, law and policy at the CCIA, highlighted the MPAA’s characterisation of customisable, open-source set-top boxes that use Kodi, along with “websites that allegedly ‘enable one-click installation of modified software onto set-top boxes or other internet-connected devices’”.
Schruers said that unscrupulous vendors selling general-purpose devices pre-loaded with software which infringes content should be targeted by the authorities, but not the Kodi technology itself.
“These enforcement activities should focus on the infringers themselves … not a general purpose technology, such as an operating system for set-top boxes, which may be used in both lawful and unlawful ways.”
He added that “open-source software designed for operating a home electronics device” is unquestionably legitimate and capable of substantial non-infringing uses, claiming that even the MPAA notes that “‘Kodi is not itself unlawful’”.
In cases of devices that have been modified to infringe content, the USTR should “take care to differentiate between lawful open-source technology and a minority of users and businesses who employ that technology for infringement”.
Kodi, which did not feature in last year’s “Notorious Markets” report, is legal to own but users can install various illegal ‘add-ons’ that allow people to watch pirated content.
In July, TBO reported that a British man who purchased Kodi boxes from China and installed piracy software before selling them at a profit was handed a suspended 18-month prison sentence.
And in September we reported that the non-profit organisation behind Kodi hit out at trademark “trolls”, accusing them of trying to register the Kodi mark in various countries outside the US with the goal of earning money from the name.
The CCIA’s members include Amazon, Google and Netflix.
MPAA; Kodi; USTR; CCIA; copyright; Notorious Markets