If you're using the Kodi home cinema media center app to illegally stream copyrighted films and TV shows, you may soon have to head elsewhere – under increased pressure from litigators, many Kodi add-ons enabling access to pirated material are now closing up shop.
According to TorrentFreak, the likes of ZemTV and Phoenix, each illegally offering on-demand and live-streamed content free of charge, are shutting down in the face of a pricey legal battle with US satellite broadcaster Dish Network.
The company is arguing that its TV channels are having their copyrighted materials infringed upon by the Kodi add-ons, and is looking for $150,000 for every infringement it sees the add-ons making.
With many Kodi add-on developers acting as small groups, running the dodgy streaming services without significant financial gain, it appears the risk is now too great for them to continue to operate.
"In light of current events we have decided to close down Phoenix," said the add-on's developer Cosmix in a post on the TVAddons forum.
"This is not something that was easy for us to do; we have all formed a bond that cannot be broken as a team and have a HUGE support base that we are thankful of."
While the developer doesn't specifically call out the legal challenge, it's hard to see what other "current events" they could be referring to. In addition, it's becoming increasingly dangerous for those benefiting from the pirated material to do so -- in recent weeks the European Court of Justice has stated that the sale of ‘fully loaded’ Kodi boxes (those pre-installed with piracy-enabling software), is now illegal and punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
The news couldn't come quickly enough for Kodi's core development team, who've stood by their open-source principles in the face of continued scrutiny, slamming the pirates will protecting the project's well-meaning open nature.
As such, as the pirates jump ship, Kodi may be in a much better place by the time its Kodi 18 Leia build launches, which promises Android leanback features and even a 64-bit version.
- If you're looking to try out Kodi for yourself, these are the best Kodi boxes around.