What is Kodi and why you need a VPN to use it



When he isn't helping you watch TV abroad, David enjoys watching comedy and documentaries. He's a big fan of The Detectorists and Blue Planet. He also loves watching English football, for his sins he supports Arsenal.

Kodi has been making plenty of headlines in recent times, but more often than not for the wrong reasons. The news has been full of stories linking it to the illegal streaming of live sporting events and the accessing of copyrighted content online.

Kodi add-ons have been shut down, some users have faced legal actions, and there are rumours of Kodi being banned altogether in more than one country. But none this really gives the full picture of what Kodi really is or explains why it is so essential to use a VPN with it.

What is Kodi?

Kodi is a media player. It is a piece of software which was originally developed back in 2002 under the name of XBMC and was at first intended for the X-Box games console. However, when it failed to get approved by Microsoft, its developers were forced to look at other platforms.

Which is part of the reason Kodi has become so popular. 15 years and one name change later, Kodi is now available on pretty much every platform, apart from, ironically, games consoles.

Today, Kodi is one of the biggest media players in the world. And there are a few different reasons why it has taken off the way it has.

Why is Kodi so popular?

Firstly, it is a hugely flexible piece of software. It is able to play pretty much every file format in existence. It also allows users to share content across different devices, which is very appealing in the age of mobile technology.

Perhaps more important though is Kodi’s customisability. Kodi is a piece of Open Source software. This means that its coding is freely available for external developers to access, use, and adapt as they see fit. And countless developers have taken up this challenge.

It is now possible to change the appearance of Kodi as you see fit, with thousands of different skins and looks available to download, mostly for free.

But the single biggest appeal of Kodi is its add-ons. These are bolt-on programmes which add new functionality to Kodi and can be run through the core software. There are plenty of official Kodi add-ons, which are approved by Kodi’s developers, all of which are totally safe and totally legal to use.

But then there are the unofficial add-ons. These are not approved by Kodi’s developers and have to be downloaded from external sources, known as repositories. These add-ons are what most people use with Kodi to stream content. Many are perfectly legitimate, but some do enable access to copyrighted content.

It is here where the legal status of Kodi comes into question. And it is also here where it becomes clear why a VPN is so important for Kodi users.

Is Kodi legal?

Yes, Kodi itself is completely legal. However many of the unofficial add-ons that can be used with it arguably are not. They can allow users to stream copyrighted content. An act which can see users facing copyright notices and even further legal action.

It is still debatable whether or not the act of streaming content can be considered in breach of copyright law. In the EU, a European Court of Justice ruling from 2014 states that streaming content is not in breach copyright law. This is because the copyrighted content is only stored on a user’s device temporarily. A similar definition also exists in US law.

But, this hasn’t stopped copyright holders from chasing some Kodi users while at the same time mounting challenges against this legal definition in both jurisdictions. Most Kodi users just want to enjoy their movie or TV show rather than potentially get sucked into a complex legal battle, which is where a VPN comes in.

How does a VPN help Kodi users?

By using a Virtual Private Network or VPN such as the one provided by IPVanish, You can effectively hide your identity online and therefore eliminate the risk of your Kodi viewing habits coming back to haunt you.

A VPN will encrypt your online data meaning no-one can see what you are doing online, not even your ISP. It will also pass your data through a server which changes the IP Address associated with it. This is the data by which your online activity can be traced. But once it is changed, it is almost impossible to directly link you to what you are doing online.

A few of the best VPN services for Kodi are:

So, a VPN can make your data secure and your online presence completely anonymous. It, therefore, overcomes any potential legal risks you might encounter through using Kodi with some of its more popular, though unofficial, add-ons.

And most importantly, it can give you the peace of mind to enjoy your TV show or movie, without worrying about the repercussions.

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