Official:Kodi name change FAQ

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The big one: WHY are you changing the name?!

  • A few reasons, actually. Be sure to read our full announcement post by clicking here.
  • We've actually been considering a name change as a possibility for years, but never got around to it.
  • Finally cut the lingering connections to the old Xbox.
  • In recent years there has been more and more third party use of the XBMC name or derivatives thereof, which has proven confusing for users, and potentially damaging to our reputation.
  • We cannot trademark the "XBMC" name due to concerns from other software related groups that are very close to this name.
  • Even without trademarking anything, we have an agreement with another party to change the name away from "XBMC" before 1-1-2015.
  • This is not a new "marketing strategy" or direction for the software. It's really just a name change that we couldn't avoid.

What about the XBMC Foundation?

  • The current situation allows us to use the XBMC name for our legal Foundation.
  • The XBMC Foundation is the name of the non-profit organization that controls donations and various business affairs for our software projects.
  • Think of the XBMC Foundation and Kodi in the same respects as the Mozilla Foundation and Firefox, or any other situation where the group name is different from the product name. We're like that, only with less dinosaurs and animals being attacked by elements of nature.

What about Team XBMC?

  • Team XBMC will now be known as Team Kodi.

Are you aware that XXX company also uses the name Kodi?

  • Probably yes. The trademark search after the name was suggested was extremely rigorous. The only other companies owning a similar trademark are in unrelated businesses. Two groups can have the same name/trademark as long as they are in different "markets". This is why we have both Apple Computer and Applebee's Restaurant.
  • The name Kodi was vetted by trademark lawyers who saw no problems with getting a trademark in our market.

I think another name is better, will you switch it to that?

  • It's easier said than done. Team Kodi considered hundreds of names that had to met various criteria. Most user suggestions that we've gotten after going public are already either trademarked or extremely similar to existing trademarks. For example, "Helix," which is a popular user suggestion, is currently trademarked and owned by Real Networks.

Why wasn't the community involved in selecting a new name?

  • There were two problems with involving the community in selecting a name. The first, and most important problem, is that an open name selection process was practically guaranteed to result in copycat groups rapidly snatching domain names up before the Foundation had an opportunity to do so. Similarly, copycat groups could easily have applied for a trademark before the Foundation was able to, preventing the use of that name.
  • The second, somewhat less important problem with this suggestion is purely time based. In order to make a valid name suggestion, a person must have first vetted the name, which includes searching for prior use, searching for available domains, and searching for competing trademarks. In selecting Kodi, the Team actually went through several hundred different names, vetting almost all of them. To open that process up to the community likely would have resulted in several thousand more names, all of which would have required vetting. The process already took roughly 9 months. Opening it up to the community likely would have tripled or quadrupled that timeframe.

Are you selling out? Are you doing this to partner with some other company?

  • No, and no, respectively. In both cases, the simple fact of the matter is most companies aren't stupid. No one is going to be fooled by a simple name change. With situations like Netflix, the typical hang up is that the companies want to implement DRM into the software in order to use their service. The odds are that the very companies that were willing or unwilling to work with XBMC are going to be the same companies that are willing or unwilling to work with Kodi. Further, none of the companies that have contacted us with the specific intent of working with us on software have ever required a name change or anything even remotely related to a name change.

Will I be in trouble if I don't update the software to use the new name?

  • No, not at all. While we hope you update to take advantage of new features and bug fixes, you as a user are not required to do anything in relation to this change.

I can't believe you guys are doing this! How could you rename XBMC?!

  • We are still connected to our old name since it will remain the name of our foundation, the XBMC Foundation.
  • The decision was not an easy one for any of us. Even within our group it is something we've discussed and struggled with, but ultimately decided was the best course of action. Many of us feel a deep attachment to the old XBMC name, and it always feels weird to change something like that when it has been around for a long time. C'est la vie.
  • New name or not, it's still the same great project with the same great users, people, features, and goals. We're still out to make the best media center with the best 10 foot user interface.

Can the new Kodi name be used in websites and other communities or products?

  • See here for our new trademark usage policy.

How did you come up with the new name? What does it mean?

  • We considered a TON of names. We had a number of requirements for the new name, such as being reasonably pronounceable in various languages and not be a mouth full to say, not be used as a trademark for someone else's media-related product, be easy to remember, etc. The group came up with a list of names and had our lawyer go over them. We then got back a smaller list that had been checked for various legal issues, and then we voted on the final name.
  • One idea was we wanted to work the word "code" in there and optionally be able to use playback control symbols to "spell" out the name (such as previous, stop (or play), next) so that the name/logo would have a connection to the software while still being unique.
  • The letters "KODI" are not an acronym, nor is it supposed to be a person's name.
  • Like a lot of software products, the name might not have a "direct" meaning, such as Firefox or Chrome, until the software itself defines the meaning by association. In other words, if Kodi doesn't sound like a media center application right now, that's just because no one else has used it that way, duh.

Did Microsoft threaten to sue you?

  • Nope. While the Xbox-roots of the XBMC name were still a concern for us, and one of the reasons we wanted to change the name, Microsoft has never contacted us about doing so.

What about other organizations called Kodi?

  • The XBMC Foundation and our lawyer are aware of other organizations that use the name "Kodi". For example, a discount store chain in Germany is called "KODi". This is not an issue, as trademarks only apply to specific markets. For example, anyone could sell hotdogs under the name Kodi and it wouldn't violate our trademark, because selling food is a different market than software media players or home theater related products. Customers wouldn't be confused about buying the hot dog and expecting to watch movies on said hot dog.