7 out of 10 Kodi users are pirates, say Hollywood copyright overlords

The scale of piracy being committed through the Kodi media player is staggering, according to new numbers shared by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

The authority, which counts among its many Hollywood-related roles the protection of copyrighted material, claims that 26 million Kodi users have configured the player to access pirated materials. Of the 38 million estimated Kodi users, that's roughly 7 out of 10 users accessing illegal materials.

The figures were presented by MPAA Senior Vice President, Government and Regulatory Affairs Neil Fried during a panel discussion held by the Copyright Alliance in conjunction with the Creative Rights Caucus.

Who's counting?

However, speaking to Torrentfreak, a number of people related to the Kodi platform disputed the legitimacy of the figures.

XBMC Foundation President Nathan Betzen (XBMC being the original name for Kodi), made a pointed comment about user privacy, stating that: 

"Unfortunately I do not have an up to date number on users, and because we don’t watch what our users are doing, we have no way of knowing how many do what with regards to streaming. [The MPAA’s] numbers could be completely correct or totally made up. We have no real way to know.” 

The Kodi team, when still working under the XBMC banner, did have the ability to measure the popularity of add-ons however, even if this didn't necessarily extend to how users were interacting with them.

A spokesperson for TVAddons, the repository that hosts many of the Kodi add-ons echoed the sentiment, stating it has "banned" the use of tracking software in the Kodi add-ons it provides. As a result, it claims the MPAA "is throwing around numbers without much statistical evidence."

The anti-piracy battle is one fraught on many sides then, with the MPAA looking to protect its artists, TVAddons defending its community and Kodi, as ever, stuck in the middle as a platform with legitimate open-source uses, hijacked by those unwilling to pay for copyrighted materials. If the 38 million userbase figure is accurate, there's obviously a great need to educate all users on the value of using legitimate services, regardless of the actual reach of the piracy-enabling add-ons.

Gerald Lynch

Gerald is Editor-in-Chief of iMore.com. Previously he was the Executive Editor for TechRadar, taking care of the site's home cinema, gaming, smart home, entertainment and audio output. He loves gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Before TechRadar, Gerald was Editor of Gizmodo UK. He is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press.