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Kodi has a clever new plan to tackle copyright privacy on its platform
Kodi is a hugely-popular media player.
The open-source software is entirely neutral, and can be installed on a broad range of devices.
However, Kodi has gained an unfortunate reputation thanks to the way some third-party developers use the platform – creating add-ons for the software which enable access to premium channels and copyrighted content for free.
These third-party Kodi add-ons often share content uploaded, shared or streamed from other users across the globe.
Smart set-top boxes, preinstalled with the Kodi media player and a whole host of these piracy-focused add-ons, are colloquially known as Kodi Boxes.
Amazon recently banned the sale of these devices from its online store.
And now, Kodi itself has revealed plans to tackle the piracy that is so often linked with its open-source software.
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Project lead Martijn Kaijser said the team was looking to bring DRM to the platform.
For those who don't know, Digital Rights Management (DRM) is a way to enable copyright protection for digital media.
Enabling DRM on Kodi could encourage providers to bring their content to the Kodi platform without fear that it could be pirated, said Mr Kaijser.
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Bringing more legitimate sources of copyrighted content to the Kodi platform would also change the software's reputation.
Mr 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."
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XBMC Foundation President Nathan Betzen also spoke to the blog about the Kodi software's reputation.
"There are rights-holders that know who we are and realise we are distinct from the 3rd party add-on crowd," he said.
"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’."
Kodi already helps in the efforts to stop people selling so-called pirate Kodi Boxes.
However, Mr Betzen believes the best way to tackle piracy is to provide users with access to more legal content through official add-ons.
He said: "We’d like to actually work with content providers to have official add-ons in our network.
"That’s much easier to do when we are proactively attempting to help them to fight copyright infringement."
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The news comes days after Swiss digital security firm NAGRA confirmed plans to target pirate streams that piggyback on the Kodi platform.
NAGRA, part of the Kudelski Group, and the International Broadcaster Coalition Against Piracy (IBCAP) announced plans "to bring a new generation of anti-piracy technology and services" to broadcasters and content distributors.
Vice President Media Security Services for NAGRA, Frederic Guitard said: "NAGRA is constantly expanding its portfolio of content value protection technologies and services, and this contract marks a milestone in our commitment to support broadcasters and content creators in the protection of their content from piracy in foreign markets.
"Developing automated, state-of-the-art tools to detect unauthorised streaming – especially on increasingly popular IPTV set-top boxes and Kodi add-ons – helps ensure we can take swift and decisive action against pirates and maintain the value of the services offered to IBCAP members."
NAGRA is part of the Kudelski Group and specialises in digital encryption systems
IBCAP and NAGRA have maintained a working relationship since 2014.
"The expansion of our agreement with NAGRA will help us leverage the latest technologies and expertise in content protection and anti-piracy with the aim of putting pirates out of business and replacing them with legitimate providers,” said Chris Kuelling, Executive Director of IBCAP.
Little is known about how NAGRA plans to tackle those who use Kodi to access copyrighted material for free.
However, the Swiss company confirmed that it plans to establish a lab designed solely to monitor and detect any unauthorised use of content via set-top boxes, websites or other streaming platforms.
The company plans to target both live streams of copyrighted content as well as video on-demand solutions.
It will also take steps to identify people selling ready-made devices, like the so-called Kodi Boxes, to gather evidence for future lawsuits.
Kodi is one example of the software that can be used to power these "pirate" media players.
Some estimates currently place 20 million devices running Kodi in use in the UK at the moment.
Kodi is not the only software that enables these types of "pirate" streaming devices – but it is one of the most well-known.
Last September, the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) branded the use of Kodi software to tune into pirated streams as an "epidemic".