You can feel the panic in the Kodi community.
TVAddons suddenly disappeared this week after being sued by Dish Network for copyright infringement. Each infringement carries a possible fine of $150,000 US.
That can add up VERY quickly.
Since the “Kodi Crackdown” started, several big-name Kodi devs have thrown in the towel under the legal pressure, but losing TVAddons is by far the biggest blow to the community.
Why is this a big deal?
Their website was one of the most popular Kodi sites on the Internet. Their repository held over a 1,500 addons from many Kodi devs and almost 40 million users registered with the site.
The site went dark earlier this week.
Their Facebook page was deleted. Their YouTube page was stripped of all the content. Their twitter feed has been silent.
Every video they made, every question that was answered, every comment, forum post, every tutorial….
The DailyMail is reporting that the owners of the site have cut a deal with Dish TV to avoid prosecution as long as they cease supporting any illegal addons and help with further investigations.
No love from Team Kodi
Once the news hit, I swear I heard champagne corks popping from the direction of Team Kodi members.
There’s never been any love between Team Kodi and the Kodi devs at TVAddons. Even though they use the same platform, they’ve always seemed to be at odds with each other.
Team Kodi, the people who actually develop and support the media center itself, have always maintained that all they do is provide an open source media center. They don’t provide any content, but they do provide the framework for other developers, usually called Kodi Devs to make their own customization for Kodi.
The Kodi Devs at TVAddons (and many other sites) create addons (small program) which access specific content. Some of it is perfectly legal. There are addons for YouTube, CBC, SyFy, CW and many, many other content providers. But there are others which are….legally questionable at best.
And that’s the basic problem.
Kodi wouldn’t be anywhere near as popular as it is today without the Kodi devs creating addons to get access to paid content for free.
It isn’t legal, but most people don’t care as long as they’re getting something for free that they’d normally be paying hundreds of dollars a month for.
Could Team Kodi have stopped these illegal addons?
But as Nate Thomas, said on an official post on Kodi.tv, “We are developers and not the police, and we have no interest in acting as police for our own software. Kodi will remain as free and as open as it always has. Feel free to continue using Kodi however you want.”
TVAddons breaks their silence
After days of silence which fueled rumors of legal take-downs, the owners of TVAddons sent out a ten-page letter to the Kodi devs that had addons hosted on their repository.
KodiTips.com posted a description of the contents of the letter, which included technical specs and commentary for how the site plans to relaunch in the future. Hint: it won’t be anything like it was. Remember when Napster tried to go legit after it ran into legal trouble?
But KodiTips also posted the one-page introduction. I think there are some interesting points to it, so I’ve included it below. You can find their original article by clicking here.
No one likes to read a ten (page) letter, I know that. I really spent a lot of time writing this, and truly care about our community. I hope that for that reason you will take the information in here seriously, because even the most advanced developers make mistakes in regards to their privacy.
I’m not going to comment anything from last week, but will note that pretty much everything you’ll read online (including the TorrentFreak article) are highly sensationalized and spread all kinds of incorrect information.
As for the future, it’s important for us all to ensure that everyone is in compliance with the law. That means that you can’t publicize any time of specific content titles anywhere. It would also be nice to see people come up with fun and unique add-on names.
We are unable to associate with anything to do with direct linking, and strongly discourage you all from associating with those who do. Playlist add-ons are basically the same thing as running your own Primewire site, definitely not a good idea.
I’m personally looking very forward to seeing new legitimate add-on development, some of the most popular add-ons are legitimate ones, think FilmOn and USTVNOW, and there are definitely more sources to be found.
In closing, I’d like to assure everyone that TV ADDONS is not going anywhere, moving forward things are going to be more efficient, stronger, and more peaceful. Thank you all for supporting our community for so long, much love to all of you.
Picking apart the TVAddons letter to their Kodi Devs
I’m an analyst by trade, so it’s my job to pick things apart and find the little nuggets of useful information in them.
So that’s what I’m going to do here.
“It’s important for us all to ensure that everyone is in compliance with the law”: Well…that is what most business entities will do. And make no mistake, TVAddons is a business. They’re not doing all this for free. They make a lot of money off of their developers, their web traffic (you) and the advertizers that pay good money to get your eyeballs on their products.
They specifically mention that there are things that won’t be tolerated on the next version of TVAddons, whatever that may be. These include “publicize any time of specific content titles anywhere”, which basically means that developers can’t advertise that you’re going to give users free access to PPV channels or events,. This also applies to getting free movies that are still in the theatres.
But here’s what most people would miss about this letter that I found interesting.
They made a couple of very innocent comments that give some hints to the direction they’re going in the future:
- “It would also be nice to see people come up with fun and unique add-on names.” : This could be something innocent, or their way of telling their Kodi devs to come up with unique names that don’t scream out to everyone (including the authorities) that they’re getting paid content for free. “Tim’s Addon” won’t attract as much attention as “Free UCF PPV” would, after all.
- “even the most advanced developers make mistakes in regards to their privacy.” : Take every precaution to protect yourself, because if you get caught, so will we.
- “I’m personally looking very forward to seeing new legitimate add-on development” : This SCREAMS out to me that they knew what they were doing was wrong. No matter what side of the legal and ethical argument you’re on, if the owners of TVAddons themselves aren’t calling their addons “legitimate”, then you know there’s a problem.
Here’s the most laughable part to me…
“I’d like to assure everyone that TV ADDONS is not going anywhere.”
Does anyone actually believe that?
Well…evidently somebody does.
KodiTips got it wrong
I’m going to be decidedly un-Canadian right now and call it like I see it:
The two commentary articles from KodiTips are complete and utter nonsense.
Worse, they are deliberately trying to tell you that everything is just peachy TVAddons, when you don’t have to be a genius to see that everything is DECIDEDLY NOT OK.
Their original post tried (and failed) to make excuses why TVAddons went dark at exactly the same time as the legal troubles began. The second post, which included the letter, ignored all of the facts and just focused on the spin that TVAddons wants everyone to believe.
To be fair, KodiTips make one good point: the tvaddons.ag domain has not been seized by the authorities. It went dark on it’s own – and the same goes for their Facebook, and YouTube accounts.
But here’s where they lose me: “The idea of this post is to set the record straight on reports from Torrent Freak and Cordcutters News who have claimed that the TVAddons website being offline is related to any legal action.”
Are you serious?
As you may have guessed, I have a website myself. (shocking, I know). So I will tell you from experience, when my website was down for half a day I did everything in my power to get it back up and running. I installed a backup on a completely different server so my followers would know I didn’t disappear.
TVAddons didn’t. There are other possibilities, sure. But the simplest answer is that they were scared and took the site down.
OK..lets give them the benefit of the doubt (even though they don’t deserve it)
Wouldn’t you say something on your Facebook page, or Twitter feed, or YouTube if you were having technical issues?
Let’s see what KodiTips had to say about that:
“Worth noting, the TVA Facebook group is also offline right now. Pure speculation, but we know that TVAddons is a private company who values security highly. They may have decided that Facebook did not suit their needs and vision moving forward.”
Again…are you serious?
Facebook…the world’s largest social media platform…didn’t suit their needs moving forward.
I’m throwing the BS flag on that one.
KodiTips, and even the letter from “Eleazar Coding” above, accused TorrentFreak of “sensationalizing” their article about the demise of TVAddons.
Make no mistake: TVAddons is dead…at least in its current form.
So what’s next?
What does this mean for the Kodi community?
Here’s what this means for you.
If you are trying to install a new addon from TVAddons repository…
It won’t work.
The repo is gone.
There’s no place to install it from.
Basically if you’ve got the repo already set up on your Kodi box, it’s just pointing to an empty server that has been turned off.
If you’ve already got your addons installed…
They may work for a while, depending on how they get their streams. But they’re not long for this world.
Sooner or later the streams are going to change. With no servers to tell your Kodi box where to go, you’ll be left pointing at the old stream that doesn’t work anymore.
Something will always take its place
If you’ve relied on TVAddons, this may seem like the end.
In fact, a lot of news sites are posting headlines like “Another nail in the coffin for Kodi”, “Kodi users despair”, and “The end for Kodi?”
Here’s where I’ll agree with “Eleazar Coding”. Those are sensationalist, click-bait titles.
Piracy sites have always been around and will always be around. Let’s not kid ourselves here. TVAddons was a piracy site. It may not have hosted any streams themselves, but they brought piracy to the masses…about 40 million of the masses.
Something will rise to take its place.
Before TVAddons there was Pirate Bay. Before Pirate Bay there was Napster, Kazaa, Morpheus, Megaupload, Kickass Torrents and many, many more.
Does this change anything?
Does it stop anything?
If you’re ready to throw in the towel…
It seems like everyone is getting on the streaming bandwagon these days. Cable companies and content providers have seen the writing on the wall that they need to change their business model.
Many of them already have. Most are still going to charge you something to watch their content. But it’s going to be a fraction of what your cable bill is each month.
If you want to learn more about what streaming options are available, check out my article on finding the best streaming service.
What do you think about TVaddons shutting down? What will you do next?
Leave a comment below and let us know!