Mobdro has been hailed as the ‘new Kodi’ following the latest piracy crackdown
Kodi is one of the best known media players around, thanks to its unfortunate association with illegal streaming of copyrighted content.
However increased pressure from anti-piracy groups and EU legislators has ensured streaming with third-party Kodi add-ons is tougher by the day.
Back in May, the UK’s Digital Economy Act received royal assent – and increased the maximum jail sentence for copyright infringement in the UK from two to three years.
Separately, the European Court of Justice ruled that streaming copyright-protected material without the right-holders permission was illegal.
Streaming copyrighted content without permission was previously seen as a legally grey area by some.
That’s because files that are stored temporarily – like those being created and constantly overwritten when streaming media content online – were technically exempt under copyright law.
This loophole enabled those who sold set-top boxes, like those powered by the Kodi media player, to promote the easy facilitation of piracy via streaming.
The combination of this landmark ruling and the increase in sanctions for those who infringe copyright has led some developers to abandon Kodi.
A number of high-profile repositories for Kodi add-on and plugins have since closed their doors.
Should Kodi Box add-ons continue to shutdown, Mobdro could be set for a surge in popularity.
The Android app has been hailed as the “new Kodi” – however, there are a number of key differences between the two applications.
Mobdro scours the internet for live streams and brings the broadcasts together into a single, unified app.
Mobdro collates live streams from around the world into one user interface
The streaming app has been around for a few years now, though it could soon become a household name as authorities focus on closing down repositories that promote the use of Kodi for illegally streaming copyrighted content.
Since Mobdro does not vet the streams itself, the app could theoretically be used to access illegal streams of copyrighted content. Some Kodi add-ons provide similar access.
Mobdro is very careful to distance itself from this use case in its terms and conditions.
The Android streaming app states that it “has no control whatsoever nor may it be held liable for the content or location of the streams, which shall be the sole responsibility of the pages on which they are hosted.
“Should the holder of a copyright consider that her/his right have[sic] been breached, she/he must address the source to request its withdrawal.”
And since these online streams can be hosted by anyone – so could be low-quality, unreliable, or be used to host copyrighted content without the permission of the right-holders.
Kodi itself is not illegal – and does not offer access to pirated material out-of-the-box.
The open-source media player that can be installed on a broad range of devices – from discount set-top boxes powered by Android, to known brands, like Amazon Fire TV Stick.
However, Kodi has gained an unfortunate reputation thanks to the way some third-party developers leverage the platform.
Third-party add-ons and plugins can enable access to premium television channels and copyrighted material on-demand without the right-holders’ permission.
Set-top boxes, preloaded with the Kodi media player and a whole slew of these piracy-focused add-ons, are colloquially known as Kodi Boxes.
Mobdro is tougher to download than Kodi.
The streaming app is available on Android versions 4.1 and newer, however it cannot be downloaded from the Google Play Store.
Instead, Android users need to manually download the APK and enable the ability to run software from unknown sources on their device – a move that is likely to put you at risk of dodgy software and viruses.
Mobdro is paid for with in-app advertising, although there is a premium tier that removes the advertisements and enables the ability to send video to a ChromeCast to watch on a bigger screen.
According to YouGov data, around five million people in the UK use pirated TV streaming services via so-called Kodi Boxes, Amazon Fire TV Chipped Sticks, and illegal streaming apps on smartphones and tablets.
Earlier this month, Kodi confirmed in a blog post that a swathe of third-party add-ons have now ceased to work on the platform following a crackdown on online piracy.
Writing on its official blog, Kodi said: “Due to recent legal action against websites and repositories promoting add-ons that use pirated (stolen) media content, many have shut-down their services.
“This is driving a large increase in users complaining in our forums and on social media about their ‘Kodi Box’ no longer working.”
Kodi is run by a team of unpaid developers who volunteer their time and expertise to create the hugely-popular media player and manage the brand.
“If you post in our forums or social channels about a pirate add-on or streaming service not working please expect ZERO sympathy or support. We don’t care,” the blog post is at pains to point out.
“We care less than not caring. We don’t care biggly. And to counter a popular comment; if the Kodi userbase drops a huge percentage because pirate services flee or die, we’re fine with that.
“Kodi has been around since 2002 and we are not going to implode or disappear (unlike the pirates).
“Life will be a little quieter, but less time spent on self-entitled whiny people means more time writing great code and having fun. We’re okay with that too.”