Is Kodi legal?

Got a Kodi box or thinking of buying one? Here's what you need to know

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It’s a question many people are asking and debating: is it legal to stream copyrighted films and TV shows using Kodi in the UK and Europe? Contrary to what you might think, and what others may say, it’s currently legal to watch the latest cinema releases and TV episodes through streaming websites and apps. See also: Is it legal to download YouTube videos?

Disclaimer: We’re not legal experts, and we’re merely reporting on what the Court of Justice of the European Union has said. The current situation appears to be that you are not breaking any EU law by using a website or software to stream copyrighted content that has been made available by someone else. Morally, of course, it’s a completely different matter. But we’re not going to debate the morality of it here: we’re concerned only with legality.

Is Kodi legal?

Kodi is perhaps the best-known and most popular media streaming app at the moment. It used to be called XBMC and has been around for years.

Kodi is simply a media player, much like Windows Media Player or VLC. There is nothing illegal about downloading, installing and using software that plays video, music and other media. In short, then, Kodi is legal.

Is it illegal to stream live football matches?

While it's not technically illegal to watch the stream, the Premier League recently secured a court order that enables it to tackle video streams of football matches via Kodi set-top boxes, currently one of the biggest draws for those that use the media streamer for streaming copyright-protected content.

Until now, it could only take down individual video streams which were relatively easy to re-establish under another URL, while a Premier League spokesman says it can now target pirates in a "precise manner" and that "for the first time, this will enable the Premier League to disrupt and prevent the illegal streamer of our matches via IPTV, so-called Kodi boxes". 

So, if you're looking to download Kodi to watch illegal streams of your favourite football matches, don't bother as it's about to become a lot more difficult.

Is Popcorn Time legal?

Popcorn Time is an application which doesn’t require any adds-ons or configuration: it’s basically Netflix without a subscription. According to EU law, it’s only the developers and distributors of the software which are in the wrong. You’re not breaking any EU law by downloading and using Popcorn Time.

Is CartoonHD legal?

If you use software to stream video – be it a home video your Uncle Bob just uploaded or the latest Ben Affleck movie - is not in itself illegal. You’re viewing a temporary copy of the video, which won’t be stored for the long term on a hard drive or any other form of storage. 

Again, this situation could change, and we're not in any way condoning or recommending the use of any of these apps, services or devices.