It appears that YouTube has it out for videos about Kodi, the streaming media player software. Earlier this week, I randomly received a notice from YouTube that they’ve just now determined my 5-year-old video about sideloading Kodi on a Fire TV is against their community guidelines and must be age-restricted for viewers that are under 18 years old. I assumed it was a mistake and appealed the decision, but the appeal was denied. Overnight, my 4-year-old video about a custom Kodi boot animation on a Fire TV was also age-restricted. Given that this second video shows nothing more than a Fire TV restarting and displaying an animated Kodi logo, it seems that YouTube is on the attack against videos that are even remotely related to Kodi.
Kodi has long suffered from an unmerited negative reputation. On its own, Kodi is nothing more than a free and open-source application to organize and play media. Unfortunately, its powerful add-on capabilities have attracted numerous piracy outlets to use it as the vessel for providing access to pirated content. Despite the Kodi team’s own efforts to thwart its use for piracy, many uninformed companies and individuals incorrectly consider anything related to Kodi to be about piracy.
Around a year ago, YouTube began demonetizing videos about Kodi, which prevents the video’s creators from making money through advertisements on the video. Now it seems like YouTube is taking it a step further to suppress videos about Kodi through age-restrictions which not only prevent the video from being demonetized, but also prevent the video from being viewed by anyone who is not logged into YouTube or is under 18 years of age.
It’s understandable that YouTube would demonetize and even age-restrict videos that explain how to pirate content. However, it seems like they’re unfairly clumping any video that mentions Kodi into a generic piracy bucket, whether or not the video is about piracy. My second video to be age-restricted isn’t even really about Kodi and has nothing to do with the application itself, nor does it even show the application. It is just a demonstration of what changing the boot animation of a Fire TV looks like. The video doesn’t even have any dialogue or captions. I just happened to use the Kodi logo as the new boot animation and used the word “Kodi” in the video’s title, which is the likely reason why it was flagged. Calling that video inappropriate for young viewers is absurd.
It’s unfair to the volunteers behind Kodi, who work hard to create such a great piece of software, for YouTube to blindly suppress their effort. It’s also unfair to content creators who have released videos about Kodi, that have nothing to do with piracy, to make their work difficult to watch and monetize.