Kodi Counters Scaremongerers and Clarifies Its Stance on DRM
Facing a constant stream of rumors and inaccurate news reports, the Kodi team has felt the need to clarify its stance on DRM. The Kodi software will never prohibit users from accessing content, legal or not, they stress. Compatibility with low-level DRM is an option, but only so that external parties can offer their content securely.
The Kodi media player software has seen a massive surge in popularity over the past two years.
With help from a wide range of third-party add-ons, some of which offer access to pirated content, millions of people now use Kodi as their main source of entertainment.
Earlier this month we interviewed the Kodi team to talk about their plans and piracy-related challenges. They were very upfront about these issues and happy to provide some counterbalance to often misleading news reports.
The Kodi team itself sees no value in actively banning third-party addons. Instead, they would like more legitimate content providers to join their platform. One of the things that could make this easier is by allowing Kodi to interface with DRM.
DRM-compatibility would make it possible for major movie studios and the likes of Netflix to stream their content in a protected environment, which is a minimal requirement for many.
However, the words “Kodi” and “DRM” in one sentence proved to be a rather volatile mix.
Soon after we posted our article, wild theories started to emerge, and social media, YouTube, and other news outlets started to spread inaccurate claims, with some predicting the end of Kodi.
This week the Kodi team decided to clarify their stance. Responding to the “ill-informed idiots on YouTube” and click-bait writers, the team makes it clear that DRM poses no threat to the media player software that people have come to love.
“Let’s try again and make this crystal clear: Kodi is a free, open-source neutral software. Kodi will never, ever require DRM to work, nor will it ever be a locked software. Ever! Read that a couple more times for good measure,” they write.
Since Kodi is open source, released under a GNU General Public License, the software itself can’t ship with DRM. However, there might be ways to set it up so it is compatible with DRM software that’s already on users’ systems or devices.
This will help to bring content providers on board and change the perception of Kodi as a piracy facilitator, the team says.
“From our perspective, supporting low-level DRM is a first step to changing that. Basically, what this means is providing some sort of interface to work with the DRM already present on your system.
“For example, Android ships with software that plays back DRMed content from Netflix. Kodi could hook into this already existing software in Android to playback the same content, so you never have to leave Kodi,” they add.
In other words, the only thing that Kodi is trying to do is help content providers to embrace the platform, not to hunt down or limit the availability of third party add-ons.
To the many news outlets who spread inaccuracies or falsehoods, the developers say they are always happy to answer their questions. In any case, readers are warned not to fall for wild claims, as they are often incorrect.
As for DRM, the Kodi team said its formal position can be summarized with the following four sentences.
- Kodi will never provide content, DRMed or not;
- Kodi will never stop working with your content;
- We will never prevent you from using Kodi as you so choose;
- We do not condone, condemn, encourage or recommend any particular use of Kodi.