Editorial: The Story of Kodi Add-on Genesis and Why Free & Ad-Free Pirated Content Is Doomed

Genesis 20I often hear people say that content should be free and/or ad free. This can be a difficult conversation, but, in short, even public domain content costs money to stream and someone has to pay that cost.

Increasingly not only do people not want to pay for content, but they also don’t want to see ads around the free content. This is a problem for both the piracy streaming business and the legally streaming business.  Both business models depend on the ads surrounding the free content to pay for the cost of streaming the content. With the rise of some unofficial Kodi add-ons that strip out the ads leaves sites with all the bandwidth cost and none of the reward.

The recent case of Genesis, an unofficial Kodi add-on that allowed users to stream both live and on-demand content for free, is a perfect example that nothing is free. (Note: We will not link to it here because of our policy about not linking to content meant primarily for piracy.)

Why is Genesis important to this conversation? Let’s take a look at how Genesis works. Genesis scrapes other sites that host live streams and movies/TV shows, removes the ads from the streams and the site, and sends the content to Kodi players through their unofficial add-on.

The problem for the sites and for Genesis is how successful Genesis became. Demand skyrocketed, and the sites started to see huge data bills without any increase in revenues. As bills rose, the sites blocked Genesis because it was not paying for the rights to access the sites.

As sites blocked Genesis, Genesis moved on to new sites. And, as the bills for those sites grew, the sites would again block Genesis. Now Genesis creators are saying they will stop development of Genesis because it is becoming too difficult to find a site not blocking their service (which hosted the pirated content).

As Genesis slowly stops working other unofficial add-ons will see a jump in traffic and will likely face the same problem. Although we won’t see Kodi add-ons like Genesis die overnight, at some point it will become too difficult for them to continue running as sites block them from scraping content.

If you want content there really are only two options: ads or subscriptions. Someone has to pay—not only to make the movie but also to print the DVDs or, in this case, pay for the bandwidth to stream the content to your house.  If you enjoy the content without paying for it with cash or time the unreimbursed costs will eventually shut down the service.

Not wanting to watch ads is a perfectly legitimate desire, however, in order to achieve it the only feasible option is to purchase the content.

I would love to be able to access everything for free, but even public libraries that lend you “free” content are paid for by taxes. So, just like your grandma always said, “there is no such thing as a free lunch.”

It looks like we are at the beginning of a slow death of pirated content that is not only free, but also  ad-free.

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