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Copyright

by Karl Bode


Filed Under:
copyright, kodi, kodi boxes

Companies:
facebook



Facebook Bans 'Promotion' Of Kodi Boxes, Even If They're Perfectly Legal

from the somebody-is-clearly-terrified dept

If you haven't noticed, the entertainment industry has a new, terrifying bogeyman. Over the last year or two, pressure from entertainment industry lobbying groups has resulted in an all-out war on streaming video devices (aka computers) that run Kodi, the video streaming software. Kodi has technically been around since 2002, first as Xbox Media Player, after which it became the Xbox Media Center until 2014. The XBMC Foundation then renamed the software Kodi, and it became popular as an easy way to store and stream content, including copyrighted content, from hardware running Kodi to other devices in or out of the home.

For years now, tinkerers everywhere have built custom-made PCs that use the open-source Kodi platform. In more recent years, outfits like Dragonbox or SetTV have taken things further by selling users tailor-made hardware that provides easy access to live copyrighted content by not only including Kodi, but integrating numerous tools and add-ons that make copyright infringement easier. Driven largely by clearly-terrified entertainment-industry execs and lobbyists, numerous studios, Netflix and Amazon have tried to sue these efforts out of existence.

Even the FCC has tried to help the entertainment industry in this fight, demanding that Ebay and Amazon crack down on the sale of such devices. Since the FCC lacks authority over copyright, it has instead tried to justify its involvement here by focusing on these devices' illegal use of the FCC approval logo. It's another big favor to the entertainment industry by the Pai FCC, who you'll recall killed efforts to help make the traditional cable box sector more open and competitive.

But the fight has also been pushed well beyond "fully loaded" Kodi-embedded devices specifically built and sold with an eye on copyright infringement. Google, for example, has banned the word Kodi from its autocomplete filter despite the fact that the Kodi software is perfectly legal. Facebook has also been piling on, initially updating its commerce policy to ban the promotion of "products or items" that facilitate or encourage unauthorized access to digital media.

Last week, Cordcutter news was the first to notice that Facebook had since tailored its commerce policy further to specifically ban Facebook users from promoting "the sale or use of streaming devices with KODI installed.":

Facebook hasn't banned the sale of any devices that are compatible with Kodi-streaming devices (keyboards, remotes). But the specific focus on Kodi remains a problem because, again, Kodi itself isn't illegal. Nor is building a small custom-PC with Kodi (or any of numerous variants like Plex) installed. Banning users for selling custom PCs that just happen to include software the entertainment industry assumes will be used for piracy is an obnoxious over-reach, but it should make it clear just how terrified the entertainment industry is of such devices.

It's an age-old story. This "threat" (which again is perfectly-legal hardware running perfectly-legal software) could be countered by offering consumers better, more modifiable, and open products and services. Instead, as we saw with the cable industry's massive disinformation attack against cable box reform efforts, the goal is always to keep everything unrealistically locked down to the detriment of the right to tinker and consumer choice.


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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 15 Aug 2018 @ 11:56am

    Maybe if we had good, reliable services that offered content without fragmentation, with ease of access, no bullshit windows and that could be used offline in conjunction with such apps if the user wanted? I mean, why do they like to leave money on the table that much?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2018 @ 12:25pm

    So THIS is where Facebook draws the line?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2018 @ 12:25pm

    How about OSMC and LibreELEC, are they banned to, or will they slip past the filters?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2018 @ 12:27pm

    perfectly legal?

    Are you opposed to Facebook blocking the promotion of other items? Should they open the doors to the legal sales of firearms on their platform?

    Also, I think it's worth mentioning that it's perfectly legal for Facebook to create bans like this. You wouldn't want to interfere in their legal activities now, would you?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2018 @ 12:28pm

      Re: perfectly legal?

      Oh look, a predictably dumb straw man.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        JEDIDIAH, 16 Aug 2018 @ 2:05pm

        Re: Re: perfectly legal?

        It's not a strawman at all. If you object to Facebook banning one type of legal merchandise but not another, then you are simply a hipocrite. You are happy to be subjected to "Zucks' Law" so long as it suits you.

        You are happy to embrace corporate Fascism so long as the flavor that suits you.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 17 Aug 2018 @ 12:20am

          Re: Re: Re: perfectly legal?

          Please cite where anybody actually said what you are claiming they think, apart from you and the anonymous moron. If you can't then, by definition, it is a strawman.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 15 Aug 2018 @ 12:29pm

      Re: perfectly legal?

      it's perfectly legal for Facebook to create bans like this

      And it is perfectly legal for us to point out the absurdity of those bans.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2018 @ 12:33pm

      Re: perfectly legal?

      I doubt anyone here is upset about the proposed blocking of Kodi items, rather it is the hypocrisy that drives one mad.

      The lies, the deceit, and the outright in your face bullshit - this is why people complain about this crap. Apparently you think it is just fine and welcome more of the same.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      I.T. Guy, 15 Aug 2018 @ 12:35pm

      Re: perfectly legal?

      "Should they open the doors to the legal sales of firearms on their platform?"

      You mean like walmart?

      Sure no problem if that's the road they choose. As long as they follow state and federal laws I see no problem.

      "it's perfectly legal for Facebook to create bans like this."
      Absolutely. Also stupid. Which was the point.

      "You wouldn't want to interfere in their legal activities now, would you?"
      If only you were as smart as you think you are.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2018 @ 3:23pm

      Re: perfectly legal?

      No
      Yes if they do it legally
      No

      You’re welcome

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      James Burkhardt (profile), 15 Aug 2018 @ 3:53pm

      Re: perfectly legal?

      Discussions of legality and discussions of morality/ethics are not the same thing. If Techdirt comments on the moral/ethical issues of this ban (what they do here), they are not commenting on the legal status.

      They often comment on the legal status when there is a lawsuit or public response trying to push back against actions with a rally about "Free Speech" to respond to that push back, and often comment on moral grounds when moral panics or ethical panics or corporatist pressure is behind the activity being discussed.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      TekChik, 21 Aug 2018 @ 7:09am

      Re: perfectly legal?

      Go home, Ajit, you're drunk.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2018 @ 12:28pm

    "Google, for example, has banned the word Kodi from its autocomplete filter"

    This is stupid even if Kodi were illegal.

    What's next, Google is going to block other words it does not like? How about blocking the word murder, it is a horrific thing so why allow people to search on it? This is ridiculous.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2018 @ 12:54pm

    Remeber

    Brains "facilitate [..] unauthorized access to digital media"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Nathan F (profile), 15 Aug 2018 @ 2:17pm

    Couldn't this be considered Tortious interference interference of Kodi's business and result in a lawsuit?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 15 Aug 2018 @ 2:50pm

      Re:

      No, because Team Kodi aren't the people who are selling those computers, they're just the developers who make the free/open-source media software that they run.

      (Honest people who sell computers with Kodi preinstalled on them are clear and upfront about this distinction. Dishonest people are not.)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2018 @ 2:56pm

        Re: Re:

        And this is another use of piracy to try and prevent a real problem, that of cable cutting which Kodi makes easy to do.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2018 @ 3:25pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "And this is another use of piracy to try and prevent a real problem, that of cable cutting which Kodi makes easy to do."


          Cable cutting is only a problem for the cable companies, not their prior customers nor anyone else who does not use their service. Many cut the cable and simply use ota, damned pirates - stealing over the air video.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 15 Aug 2018 @ 4:53pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I use Kodi/LibreElec/Raspberry Pi, and I don't use any of the addons the anti-piracy folks complain about. I use it to play my video/audio collection. So Kodi is not necessarily synonymous with piracy.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2018 @ 7:44pm

            Traditional TV

            I use Kodi to watch traditional TV!

            To the best of my knowledge, Kodi is the only viable application to use as a frontend with MythTV as a backend. MythTV’s own frontend is clunky and out of date. It’s a coding example of how you could build a frontend, not something anyone would want to use.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2018 @ 10:09pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            That was my point, but piracy is the excuse that the entertainment industry uses to go after anything that competes with their money streams.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2018 @ 3:27pm

    Good job, billionaires

    So we will buy our Kodi devices from the smaller online stores. If others accept Paypal who cares about Facebook Marketplace anyway.

    Plenty of piracy on eBay that I have seen (Microsoft software license keys "come here and collect the broken motherboard this key is tired to if you want it", etc).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2018 @ 5:08pm

      Re: Good job, billionaires

      why buy a kodi device from anyone?. learn to do it yourself and the entire issue goes away.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2018 @ 4:53pm

    When was the last time you went to a theater to watch a movie? Did you spend a week's worth of pay to take your family? Bring the prices down and this becomes a non factor. Pay per view is the same. Who wants to pay $60 to watch 2 mins of the feature bout. Get it right and this problem goes away.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      JEDIDIAH, 16 Aug 2018 @ 2:07pm

      Hyperbole doesn't make a bad argument better.

      > Did you spend a week's worth of pay to take your family?

      Utter horseshit.

      What I would pay for my family now is nowhere close to a weeks pay from back when I was making minimum wage decades ago.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 17 Aug 2018 @ 12:22am

        Re: Hyperbole doesn't make a bad argument better.

        Hyperbole also doesn't make his argument wrong. High prices are the major argument for not seeing movies theatrically apart from the major tentpole movies, which is why so many mid range films are tending to go straight to streaming.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Not poor, 18 Aug 2018 @ 9:55am

          Re: Re: Hyperbole doesn't make a bad argument better.

          The reason I don't go to movies in the theaters is because I cannot pause, rewind, get more tea, make a snack, go to the bathroom, look something up on my phone, etc. The price is inconsequential.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2018 @ 6:40pm

    It's the DVR all over again!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Joey, 15 Aug 2018 @ 6:40pm

    Maybe if the cable companies was as good as adelphia cable and

    Maybe if the cable companies was like it was when Adelphia cable was around and didn’t lie and say u couldn’t get 2 threw 99 with out a cable box when u can and so on maybe people wouldn’t do thay adelphia canle and the analog landline are the best analog landline if u have a corded phine and power goes out I still have a phone power goes out all the time and I still have a phone because of it

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Aug 2018 @ 12:12pm

      Re: Maybe if the cable companies was as good as adelphia cable and

      That sentence lacks more structural support than the Sampoong Department Store. A bit of punctuation goes a long way to ensure your words don't just collapse into an unrecognizable heap of debris.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 15 Aug 2018 @ 6:41pm

    Isn't this total fodder for a whack-a-mole situation

    When the [1994 assault weapons ban] came out with a list of components that make an assault weapon, gun developers got right on the task of making alternative devices that did not, according to the legal descriptions qualify as that specific component. Pistol-style foregrips, for example, were replaced with a weird looking handle with a thumb-hole that worked close enough.

    This looks like a thing where KODI can be replaced with any other software that does exactly the same thing, even if the code is identical to KODI except for enough aesthetic changes to make it not KODI.

    Still, these are people and industries that are happy to pirate for their own uses, even while they try to hunt those that pirate their own IP, so it's hard to take them seriously as having a legitimate gripe.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 15 Aug 2018 @ 6:42pm

      Re: Isn't this total fodder for a whack-a-mole situation

      Crap. I forgot to add the link regarding the 1994 assault weapons ban.

      Always, always, always preview.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2018 @ 11:59pm

        Re: Re: Isn't this total fodder for a whack-a-mole situation

        DId you ever see the documentaries about Gorillas where they have two gorillas play a game, and the one that wins get a prize? Gorillas understand the rules very quickly, and have incredibly fast reaction times, much faster than humans. When someone changes the rules on them, they go crazy, literally, screaming and yelling, pounding their chest, flinging their excrement, the whole 9 yards.

        You have 2 consecutive posts. Bad gorilla. Flag and censor immediately, please.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 16 Aug 2018 @ 12:43am

          Failure to parse.

          Anonymous Coward I'm really trying to give you the benefit of the doubt by assuming your gorilla story has something to do with Facebook or KODI and / or the topic above.

          And failing.

          Should I move on and assume you are malicious or ignorant?

          Perhaps you should elaborate and clarify your intent.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2018 @ 8:14pm

    Sounds familiar

    Didn't they try to spread the same sort of confusion over VCRs legality in the past too despite there being literally no reason why the hardware would be illegal and only succeeded in making it explicitly so? And it took until after that for the terminal dumbasses realized that if people are buying the then expensive tapes for over the air content they could start selling their media backlog to consumers them with signals that started out perfectly crisp instead of starting with the distortion of the broadcast plus the recording distortion?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    CG, 16 Aug 2018 @ 4:03am

    Kodi

    The deepstate dosen't like that Hollyweird is not rolling in the money which is used to hide that most of them are pedophiles.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Aug 2018 @ 7:53am

    Nobody need Kodi

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Aug 2018 @ 12:04pm

    Awesome!

    Now that they have less opportunities to use that piece of shit Kodi, perhaps more people will use and contribute to MythTV.

    XBMC was an ambitious project, but shortly before they started calling it Kodi was when everything turned to shit. They abandoned their hacker roots, got greedy, tried to "go legit", changed the project's name to something you'd call a cat, and then fell right on their asses. Ha and ha.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      JEDIDIAH, 16 Aug 2018 @ 2:09pm

      Re: Awesome!

      That's funny because XBMC was always a MUCH better media player. The media playback features in MythTV always seemed like an ugly red headed stepchild with even some of the major contributors copping the "Apple attitude" with regards to us power users.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Chason Note, 16 Aug 2018 @ 4:05pm

    Facebook bans kodi

    I cannot believe it. Facebook has very serious issues on the subject foreign influences using the Facebook platform to
    Negatively influence american politics.
    And just how is the Facebook ban on kodi going stop the flow of information of kodi on the internet or on Facebook anyway.
    The devices, the app and it's spinoffs.
    Long live Open Source. Let's build our own Facebook.
    .

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Aug 2018 @ 8:58am

      Re: Facebook bans kodi

      Been thinking about that since the shadow banning and outright banning became public. All you need to do is create a copy of Disqus that allows people to save locally (so no one can ban you), as well as to the cloud, and allows the article to be included above the comment section. It needs a little work but it is a beginning.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    john, 16 Aug 2018 @ 4:28pm

    No such thing as a kodi box

    no such thing as a kodi box
    kodi is simply a media application you can run on your pc, apple ,or android device.
    ignorance of the technology is why there is a problem in the first place

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Christenson, 17 Aug 2018 @ 7:34pm

      Re: No such thing as a kodi box

      I disagree: a kodi box is one Dedicated exclusively to Kodi.

      Might not be hard to jailbreak, but that was how it was delivered.
      B

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    JCG, 16 Aug 2018 @ 6:43pm

    Free

    Everything on the air is becoming a way of make my money, what a ridiculous attitude when the initial idea and promotion of the INTERNET, was a free way of communicating with in , all the great ideas are part of a government that wants more to be richer and limit is to nothing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ted, 16 Aug 2018 @ 11:51pm

    pssst calm down. There are one or two websites out there still selling them. But don't tell anyone 'cause it's a secret.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    POed, 17 Aug 2018 @ 9:34am

    Facebook is crap and always has been. Only mindless idiots use it to sell anything or expose their private lives to the world of pervs, theives, scammers, spammers and the government. No limit to human stupidity.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Aug 2018 @ 4:03pm

    In retaliation for the ban, Kodi bans Facebook.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    سئو سایت اصفهان, 19 Aug 2018 @ 4:37am

    How about

    How about blocking the word murder, it is a horrific thing so why allow people to search on it? This is ridiculous.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 19 Aug 2018 @ 10:14am

      Associated with mystery fiction.

      Agatha Christie enthusiasts would have a meltdown. And every last one of them knows how to kill people in creative ways.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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