Google Search is one of the biggest ways that software services manage to get new users, so disappearing from those results can be really bad. For Kodi and VLC, that nightmare scenario is happening as Google has removed the services from Search following a copyright complaint.

Reported by TorrentFreak, Kodi and VLC were removed from Google Search following a copyright complaint. Unfortunately for these services, though, this is apparently a complete mistake. The copyright complaint in question is targeting piracy apps and services.

beIN Media Group, the owner of Turkish pay-TV service Digiturk, has a strong stance against piracy. Using a DMCA takedown, the group took down a list of URLs from Google Search that were distributing sports content. Included in that list was the download page for Kodi, an open-source media player that helps millions organize and play their favorite content. Searching for “Kodi” in Google will still show links to the official site, but it blocks the specific download page.

VLC Media Player was also on this list, but Google flagged those URLs as incorrect, leaving them in search results.

It’s unclear if beIN Media Group targeted Kodi and VLC intentionally as, in the past, the group has actually included one of its own URLs in a DMCA takedown — twice, in fact.

Kodi’s Keith Herrington said regarding the Google search removal:

It’s unfortunate content companies continue to lump us and VLC together with services who are clearly in violation of copyright law by not only providing streams to their content but using their logo, etc and that Google doesn’t even bother to check or validate, they just remove. It feels like a very ‘guilty until proven innocent’ model which I do not agree with.

kodi media player tv app

Normally, Google is better about removal URLs such as these, but in this case, the system didn’t work. The Kodi Foundation has submitted a DMCA counter-notice to have their URL put back into search results.

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