Kodi Details Its Fight Against Malicious ‘Trademark Trolls’

September 13, 2017 - Written By Dominik Bosnjak

Kodi’s Community Manager Nathan Betzen detailed the software consortium’s fight with malicious “trademark trolls” earlier this month, revealing how the organization is currently in the process of fighting a variety of individuals and entities who are trying to profit from its open-source and completely free media streaming service. Some foreign actors have apparently trademarked the name “Kodi” in numerous countries around the world, then went on to use “their” intellectual property to blackmail original equipment manufacturers and hardware vendors who produce and sell Kodi-enabled boxes to pay them for the privilege of using the name of the service while advertising their products, Mr. Betzen said.

The XBMC Foundation which developed Kodi and manages it admitted that it was without a plan when it became aware of trademark trolls looking to make an illegal profit off of its work, stating that it never had similar issues when the service was still called XBMC, which is an acronym for “Xbox Media Center” and was the original name of the software that was created as a homebrew app for Microsoft’s first-generation Xbox console released in 2001. However, following its rebranding, Kodi started being targeted by a number of trademark trolls and went on to fight them, having already managed to convince some of them to voluntarily surrender the trademarks they obtained in their jurisdictions under false pretenses, Mr. Betzen revealed.

Kodi still hasn’t managed to deal with all trademark trolls that are illegally abusing its name around the world but is “actively taking the necessary steps” to do so, with the organization recently detailing a specific case in Canada where one company is still involved in trademark-based takedowns of Kodi-enabled media players on Amazon and demands payments from their vendors based on its illegally obtained IP. Mr. Betzen revealed that the foundation is prepared to file for litigation in Canada if necessary, promising that all trademark trolls looking to profit from its work will be dealt with in the near future. The company is also currently trying to separate itself from online pirates who often use its software to stream copyrighted content without its blessing or support. Numerous government agencies in the United Kingdom and other parts of the world already signaled that they’re looking into the issue of Kodi-related piracy earlier this year, whereas the creators of the software are still trying to promote entirely legal uses of the service.