Google bans 'Kodi' from autocomplete over copyright infringement concerns

Continuing its push to distance itself from associated with copyright infringement, Google has banned the term "Kodi" from its search engine’s autocomplete feature. (Kodi)

Continuing its push to distance itself from the words and devices behind them associated with copyright infringement, Google has banned the term "Kodi" from its search engine’s autocomplete feature—making it just that much harder for people to access the site.

According to a report in TorrentFreak, the name of the software and any related search suggestions won’t pop up now unless users type out the full name. ‘Kod,,’ for instance, won’t cut it anymore, resulting in a list of  suggestions like Kodak or Kodiak. 

Google confirmed that Kodi is targeted because it's "closely associated with copyright infringement,” the site said.

The Kodi media player software is completely legal but can be abused through pirate add-ons, which allow unauthorized access to premium content. The site cited figures showing that over 70% of people who use the Kodi TV player stream premium content for free.

This is the search giant’s latest antipiracy move as it continues to face pressure from entertainment industry groups to block sites that might be used for illegal streaming or downloads. The Pirate Bay, an online index of digital entertainment content and software, was one of the first to be yanked from autocomplete.

Google has taken similar measures against other piracy-related terms and made changes to its search algorithms and autocomplete feature to render copyright-infringing material less visible.

“Google has taken steps to prevent terms closely associated with piracy from appearing in Autocomplete and Related Search,” the company has said. “This is similar to the approach we have taken for a narrow class of terms related to pornography, violence, and hate speech.”

Nathan Betzen, XBMC Foundation and product manager for Team Kodi told TorrentFreak he was “surprised and disappointed to discover Kodi has been removed from autocomplete, as Kodi is perfectly legal open source software,”

“We hope Google will reconsider this decision in the future, or at a minimum limit their removal to search terms where the legality is actually in dispute,” he added.