Google has removed the official Kodi download page from its search results, following a complaint from a copyright holder. The team behind the perfectly legal open-source software is disappointed that they’re being inaccurately lumped together with pirate services. The same takedown notice also targeted the VLC media player, but those requests were rejected.
Millions of people use the Kodi media player for their daily entertainment needs.
While the open-source software is content-neutral, some third-party addons have given the tool a bad reputation by using it to offer pirated content.
This isn’t anything the Kodi development team has control over. Luckily, most copyright holders realize this, but every now and then one appears having apparently missed the boat. And for Kodi, that can result in real damage.
For example, this week we noticed that the official Kodi download page is no longer listed in Google’s search results. Looking more closely, we spotted that it was removed by Google following a DMCA takedown request.
The takedown notice was sent a few weeks ago on behalf of the Turkish pay-TV service Digiturk, which is owned by the beIN Media Group. BeIN is known for its strong stance against piracy but in this case, it was too aggressive.
“The infringed content is sports content (illegal video stream) branded and watermarked with the trademark/logo BEIN SPORTS HD,” Digiturk writes.
The request identifies a series of URLs, many of which are associated with seemingly unauthorized IPTV services. However, it also lists kodi.tv/download, Kodi’s official download page.
Generally speaking, Google is pretty good at spotting such errors but in this case the URL was removed, as mentioned at the bottom of related search results.
Interestingly, Kodi was not the only legal open-source project that was targeted. The same notice also lists two Videolan.org URLs, which is the home of the popular media player VLC. Again, the download pages of the software were listed.
Luckily for VLC, Google flagged these requests as incorrect, meaning that the pages remain available in Google’s search results.
Kodi’s Keith Herrington is disappointed that their software is once again hit by the piracy stigma.
“It’s unfortunate content companies continue to lump us and VLC together with services who are clearly in violation of copyright law by not only providing streams to their content but using their logo, etc and that Google doesn’t even bother to check or validate, they just remove.
“It feels like a very ‘guilty until proven innocent’ model which I do not agree with,” Herrington adds.
The Kodi Foundation has submitted a DMCA counter-notice to Google and hopes that their download page will reappear in search results in due course.
TorrentFreak reached out to Digiturk for a comment on its unusual requests. While they could be intentional, it’s also possible that the company simply targeted these open source projects by mistake.
Many thanks to TorrentFreak for the breaking news.