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Piracy Entertainment

Hollywood Strikes Back Against Illegal Streaming Kodi Add-ons (engadget.com) 77

An anonymous reader shares a report: An anti-piracy alliance supported by many major US and UK movie studios, broadcasters and content providers has dealt a blow to the third-party Kodi add-on scene after it successfully forced a number of popular piracy-linked streaming tools offline. In what appears to be a coordinated crackdown, developers including jsergio123 and The_Alpha, who are responsible for the development and hosting of add-ons like urlresolver, metahandler, Bennu, DeathStreams and Sportie, confirmed that they will no longer maintain their Kodi creations and have immediately shut them down.
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Hollywood Strikes Back Against Illegal Streaming Kodi Add-ons

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  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @03:53PM (#55565073)
    it's the app I use to watch my Crunchyroll (Japanese anime streaming service) account. I'd actually been tempted to pirate stuff just so I could watch it off line. With that one little addition I can't be arsed to pirate things. I stopped pirating games years and years ago because it's just not worth the effort. I can't wait for Video to be the same.
    • CrunchyrollWith a name like that, I'd expect fake Japanese anime made by Filipinos...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      "Effort."

      Pay pennies a day for a vpn. Download and install a torrent client. Set your download directory. Pick a website that offers torrent files. The end.

      The most "effort" you'll have to put in will be split between renaming and organizing the files (if you're into that) or getting off your lazy ass to run to your local electronics store to buy a new hard drive or two.

  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DontBeAMoran ( 4843879 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @03:53PM (#55565075)

    For once they're going after the exact source of the problems instead of casting a net so wide that would have put the whole Kodi team itself in trouble.

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Yep, the idiots are funding the development of free open source Kodi ad ons. I'll bet those who created them and can not use their work, will be content to release and combine the code free for everyone to use.

    • the exact source of the problems

      So they're shutting down cable companies and the major hollywood studios that don't want to get with times? Because this sounds more like they're going after sites that try to serve content without all the bullshit... and those sound more like solutions TO the problem.

    • by fred911 ( 83970 )

      Wrong! The content is still hosted at the server.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    lol, no it won't
    its an opensource media center and will stay that way
    it may have gained popularity because of the addons but it's not without merit without them
    oh no my 24/7 rick and morty stream wont work this software a shit

  • Call it "The Empire Strikes Back".
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Call it "The Empire Strikes Back".

      No! That's not true! That's impossible!

    • by vlad30 ( 44644 )
      And the Final Part "Return of the Kodi" the empire is defeated
  • by RadioD00d ( 714469 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @04:19PM (#55565261)
    I have several options when it comes to consuming video content: I have and external antenna on my home, a Roku device with Netflix and Amazon Prime accounts, Playstation Vue for 'cable' channels, a Plex server on my network, AND a 'Kodi box'. The Kodi system is my absolute LAST choice when it comes to finding something to watch. Yeah, there are all sorts of 'pirate-like' add ons for Kodi that will allow me to search for, select, and (maybe) stream content. The selection process is cumbersome, the streams are unreliable at best, and the entire 'pirate' system is a kludge which reminds me - showing my advanced age here - of what AOL did to IRC - put a fancy GUI in front of it, call it a proprietary spec, and 'dumb down' the userbase. The guys at TPB are laughing in their beer over the crap that's been foisted on people because nobody is willing to look under the hood and recognize what's going on. Yep - I can download the same content in minutes, throw it on the Plex server, and not have to worry about lag, bad streams, changing network conditions, or whatever. Bittorrent (in this usage) is no less illegal, and it's a hell of a lot more reliable. Not to mention that fully 95% of the content I want to watch is available to stream from LEGAL sources within 24-48 hours after it's released anyway....
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Yeah, it's kind of a pain finding a steam I'll agree; but a lot more people manage it than know how to download torrents per se and it's not nearly as bad as you make it out to be. I find it no more painful then having to check six different services for the show you want to watch. I find Netflix really crappy to search in for example, too much web 2.0 stuff going on with big high-res images. By the time I open the website and find out they don't have the show I'm looking for, I might as well have opened
      • That's where the Roku shines - I can use their search function to look at all the available - legal - streams for a specific show or movie, sorted by how much they would cost me to watch. With the three services to which I subscribe, I can always find something, but sometimes some of the specific stuff (I said earlier that I'm OLD, I look for older TV shows and movies regularly) just isn't available on the normal services. That's when the Kodi box comes in handy, and I guess if somebody wants to bitch at me
    • by CodeHog ( 666724 )
      Kodi can be used liked Plex without the server part. I rip my discs to a network drive and use Kodi on a Firestick to watch them. No issues.
    • Bittorrent (in this usage) is no less illegal,

      How can watching a stream be illegal for the consumer? Obviously peer-to-peer "streaming" can be since the consumer is also uploading the content. If we consider purely server-client streaming, isn't it only the server that's breaking the law and not the client? Yes, technically the client does have some form of local copy for caching/buffering purposes but so do many legal media systems, e.g., HTPCs with TV tuner cards, etc., so I doubt these count as copies for the purposes of copyright law.

      Imagine a m

      • How can watching a stream be illegal for the consumer?

        Technically it is, because of the way torrenting works: every torrent being cached during download is available for upload.

      • by nasch ( 598556 )

        How can watching a stream be illegal for the consumer?

        This lawyer has tips on legal defenses when being sued for downloading something, and "downloading isn't illegal" is not one of them:

        https://jux.law/copyright-infr... [jux.law]

        Wikipedia says "To an extent, copyright law in some countries permits downloading copyright-protected content for personal, noncommercial use. Examples include Canada and European Union (EU) member states like Poland, and The Netherlands." I think if the US were one, it would have been listed.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

        Here's an Ars Tech

        • by jaa101 ( 627731 )

          Downloading is different from streaming. There are plenty of services where it's legal to stream but not to download. Even watching digital TV over the air is the same as streaming and it's obviously perfectly legal to watch. How is watching a stream over the internet illegal if watching the same stream via radio waves is legal?

          • by nasch ( 598556 )

            Legally I doubt streaming is different from downloading. Do you have any references indicating it is?

  • by Khopesh ( 112447 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @04:25PM (#55565301) Homepage Journal

    People just want easy access to content.

    If there's an easy way to get it that MPAA, Amazon Prime, Netflix, and others can actually support (and ideally offer a more reliable service with better UX and more content), then the "need" for these illegal add-ons will diminish radically. Then it's okay to pick off the bigger facilitators if they're still too big for comfort.

    MLB.tv does this. I can watch it on my Kodi TV setup by logging into the account that I pay for. It's not supported by MLB, but it still works (most of the time) and MLB has no incentive to shut it down.

    At some point, these content providers will realize that their content is actually worth something on its own. They'll be fine releasing free and open source software that can securely log in and stream their content to paying customers without an iota of non-free software on the client system.

    • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @05:34PM (#55565797)

      Why not COMPETE with the illegal add-ons?

      People just want easy access to content.

      The short answer: "because FUCK YOU, that's why!"

      The long answer: they are maximizing their profits and know that they could get more customers by being reasonable but if they are unreasonable they can ultimately extract more money. Therefore, all challenges to that system must be destroyed to ensure the future of maximized profits.

      TL;DR: It's simple greed.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      MLB.tv does this. I can watch it on my Kodi TV setup by logging into the account that I pay for. It's not supported by MLB, but it still works (most of the time) and MLB has no incentive to shut it down.

      It works *much* better for sports because people want to see the match live, before they see the result in a headline somewhere. You could store and spread the footage but it's yesterday's news. Good series and movies are worth watching years later. And you can't really sell people on the convenience features like Spotify can over managing your own MP3 collection, because it takes like two hours to watch a movie. If I have to spend half a minute to fidget with a three minute song that's inconvenient. Half a

  • by bobstreo ( 1320787 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @04:43PM (#55565421)

    Most libraries have shelves full of Blu-Ray and DVD movies to lend.

    Some libraries allow you to stream movies with your membership (in addition to ebooks and music) for free.

    Check with, and donate to your local libraries. They can use the money or time.

    • The library here sucks but there is one 60 miles from me that has a better selection than family video (which I am amazed is still open). The local library will borrow and lend books from that library (if you don't mind waiting a week to check it out) but not DVDs or Bluray.

      • The library here sucks but there is one 60 miles from me that has a better selection than family video (which I am amazed is still open). The local library will borrow and lend books from that library (if you don't mind waiting a week to check it out) but not DVDs or Bluray.

        If they have a website, check to see if they have services like streaming tv shows/movies or ebooks. You may be surprised...

        • After posting that I did check and was surprised they do have ebooks, audiobooks, movies, and tv shows. They limit the streaming video service to ten streams a month but for a free library card I say that's not bad I'll have to get a card so I can check out what selection they have online.

    • Why do you treat libraries like charities over there?

      I live in a fair sized city, and 7% of the municipal budget goes straight into the libraries. We have an excellent, modern library system and they don't need charity.

      What does your town waste its money on?
  • ...are the copyright holders still going after individuals? When last I was current ont he torrent scene, they were landign like a ton of bricks on individuals caught downloading, in order to discourage the practice. Is that still going on, or are they just after the streaming and torrent sites now?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 16, 2017 @05:20PM (#55565677)

    So for those who don't understand whats happened there was an attack on a bunch of people and completely legitimate projects here in the process of trying to kill off "infringing" add-ons (the add-ons just make it easy to search third party video hosting sites). The industry doesn't care. To them it's just collateral damage. It's like how they tried to ban VHS back in the day. No VHS no piracy was the thinking. They ignore the fact that many of these tools/hosts and projects have completely legal use cases.

    https://www.tvaddons.co/. TVAddOns has a costly legal battle you can help fund for instance which is basically just a third party repository for Kodi AddOns of which most are legal (ie something like 99%).

    For those who think copy"right" is a fraud and should be dispensed with as it doesn't do what it was sold to us as doing (a limited 7-yr monopoly to promote the arts and sciences for the public benefit) there are other forks of the software targeted here you can migrate to.

    Some of the underlying legal tools that these add-ons rely on that were targeted will be forked by TVAddOns. While some add-ons are assisting people in infringing content this is not what TVAddOns does and TVAddOns removes upon notification such add-ons.

    Covenant for instance which is the most popular plug-in for pirating shows on Kodi is a fork of a slightly older add-on that was targeted by the industry and shut down called Exodus. There are other forks of Exodus like Elysium that are readily available and can still be installed by anybody; it's a near identical replacement for Covenant (Covenant still works if you have it installed, but isn't available now because of the industries attack on it).

  • Misplaced (Score:4, Funny)

    by PoopJuggler ( 688445 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @06:07PM (#55566085)
    If only they spent as much effort on weeding out the sexual predators from their own ranks...

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