The Motion Picture Association of America, MPA, has discovered GitHub and is going through accounts on this online code hosting and social platform to remove, citing copyright violations, repositories of projects that it considers to be breaking those rules.
One of the targets is the source code associated with the extremely popular and widely used multi-platform Kodi – a free and open software media player, that is, however, often in the cross-hairs of “anti-piracy” campaigners as an enabler of illegal use of copyrighted material, due to the nature of its technology rather than anything the app itself does.
In fact, the only way that piracy can be enabled on Kodi is through third-party extensions.
The MPAA was joined by MPAA-Canada and Amazon, who, unable to go after Kodi which they cannot legally challenge directly, asked Microsoft-owned GitHub to remove the account of a Kodi add-on developer.
The request for deletion of the entire github.com/MrBlamo6969 account came in December of last year, with the trade organizations representing some of the world's largest studios and Amazon, said the owner of the account, “Blamo,” was a repeat copyright infringer. In addition, the developer is accused of being in contempt of the Federal Court of Canada who previously issued an order for him to stop these activities.
GitHub was asked to remove the account in its entirety and in that way protect the rights of entertainment giants, and respect the Canadian court's decision.
However, GitHub has decided not to do this. One reason could be that the code itself does not contain any copyrighted material, rendering the studios' request pointless. Maybe the MPAA doesn't understand what GitHub does in this case: it hosts code, not intent. Or maybe they do but are so to speak, throwing copyright infringement accusations against the wall to see if something sticks.
GitHub did act to remove two URLs that the MPAA cites in the complaint sent to the platform. However, this was merely a gesture meant to comply with the Canadian court's injunction which mentions the said URLs with infringing content.