A court case that could determine the future of Kodi add-ons has reached its next chapter, with the outcome increasingly looking certain to rip apart the Kodi community and potentially end copyright infringement on the platform.
Filed by US broadcast company Dish Network, the lawsuit is taking aim at add-on Zem TV and the popular add-on library TVAddons, with the latter previously hosting around 1,500 Kodi extensions and crucial add-on updates.
TVAddons has since shut down, a move linked to the lawsuit, but now its creators - and Zem TV's developers - could face direct penalties, as the Texas court has granted Dish Network the right to subpoena Amazon, Github, Google, Twitter, Facebook, PayPal, and a number of other platforms to obtain the add-on creators' full identities.
Dish Network is accusing the two of enabling copyright infringement on its on-demand and livestream services, and is asking for $150,000 in damages, reports TorrentFreak.
The threat of similar lawsuits has seemingly prompted the closure of a number of other notorious add-ons used to watch pirated streams of movies, TV and sport on XBMC Foundation's open-source Kodi software. In June, Phoenix - a popular add-on for Kodi pirates - closed its doors, hinting that the implications of Dish Network's lawsuit were to blame for its shuttering.
The subpoenas are targeting the otherwise anonymous developers of Zem TV and TVAddons, whose identities are currently hidden behind social media usernames and email addresses. Dish Network is inspecting Paypal transactions, tweets, Google accounts and more.
Should the network be successful in unmasking the developers and winning their case, the ramifications for the already reeling Kodi community could be huge. With major online retailers, anti-piracy organisations and the EU courts all clamping down on the retail and use of pre-configured IPTV boxes, it may only be a matter of time before Kodi add-ons go completely 'legit'.
For Kodi, this could be a good thing, as XBMC Foundation has often condemned copyright infringing add-ons and has considered ways of solving its piracy problem without losing the platform's open-source ecosystem.