XBMC Foundation is considering a number of major changes to the way it deals with piracy on its streaming software, Kodi. The popular open-source platform, used by millions to stream and side-load TV shows, movies and games on IPTV devices, has become notorious for enabling free streams of paid-for content via unofficial third-party add-ons.
In an effort to curb the large swathes of users turning to the kind of shadier add-ons XBMC Foundation has often condemned, the non-profit team is reportedly considering adding "low-level" digital rights management (DRM) to encourage more official networks and content providers to consider the platform, as opposed to tackling the unofficial apps head on.
"Our view on this is that [removing code] would not help a bit, because the code is open-source and others can easily revert it. Blocking add-ons won't help since they would instantly change the add-on and the block would be in vain," XBMC Foundation's project lead Martijn Kaijser told TorrentFreak.
"Our platform has a lot of potential and we are looking into attracting more legal and official content providers. Additionally, we're looking into adding low-level DRM that would at least make it more feasible to gain trust from certain providers."
Should the proposed policy changes come into effect, there could be an increase in the amount of legal, rights holder-endorsed add-ons joining the Kodi ranks. While the number of 'official' add-ons on XBMC's platform is greatly outnumbered by pirated streams, Kodi already supports Twitch, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Spotify, Amazon Prime Video and other major content providers of TV, music and film.
"There are rightsholders that know who we are and realise we are distinct from the 3rd party add-on crowd," said XBMC Foundation president Nathan Betzen. "And then there are the rights holders who have been successfully taken in by the propaganda, who write us very legal sounding letters because some random YouTuber or 'news' website described the author of a piracy add-on as a 'Kodi developer'."
XBMC's suggested plans arrive amid a continued crackdown on sellers of 'Kodi boxes', i.e. set-top devices, such as Amazon's Fire Stick or Nvidia's Shield TV, pre-loaded with piracy-focused add-ons. As well as multiple arrests in the UK, both the US and UK wings of online retail giant Amazon have banned the sale of infringing devices.