Google has banned the term “Kodi” from its autocomplete feature, meaning those who look for information on the set-top box will have to type out the full term in order to search, as reported by TorrentFreak. Google has been increasing its anti-piracy efforts in recent years, banning terms from autocomplete and making changes to its search algorithms in order to demote copyright-infringing material.
While Kodi is a legal set-top box for streaming, it supports a myriad of third-party add-ons that provide access to pirated media. Last year, Kodi was in the news after five people were arrested for selling fully loaded “Kodi boxes,” and shortly after, the European Union’s Court of Justice ruled that selling set-top boxes configured for easy film and TV piracy is illegal.
When “kod” is now typed into Google, suggestions appear like “kodiak” and “kodak black,” but “kodi” is not shown. However, once “kodi” is typed in with a space afterward, options like “kodi addons” and “kodi download” appear. Google has previously removed other piracy-related terms from autocomplete, like “pirate bay.”
The Kodi team, operated by the XBMC Foundation, actively tries to distance itself from piracy, issuing trademark takedown notices to those who sell piracy-configured Kodi boxes. But, while Kodi is legal software, it remains a space that enables piracy, akin to platforms like BitTorrent. (TorrentFreak notes that BitTorrent was previously removed from Google’s autocomplete, but later reinstated.)
“We are surprised and disappointed to discover Kodi has been removed from autocomplete as Kodi is perfectly legal open source software,” XBMC Foundation president Nathan Betzen told TorrentFreak. Meanwhile, a Google spokesperson told TorrentFreak that “Since 2011, we have been filtering certain terms closely associated with copyright infringement from Google Autocomplete. This action is consistent with that long-standing strategy.”