From Official Kodi Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Home icon grey.png   ▶ XBMC Foundation ▶ Trademarks ▶ Trademark

1 Referenced Pages and Further Reading

2 Introduction

This document outlines the policy of the XBMC Foundation regarding the use of the XBMC Foundation Marks. Usage of any XBMC Foundation trademark must be in accordance with this policy. Any use that does not comply with our trademark policy or does not have written authorization from us is not authorized. Any goodwill generated by the use of any XBMC Foundation Marks inures to the benefit of XBMC Foundation.

The aim of this policy and our trademark rules is to:

  • Make it clear what Kodi is and what it does and doesn’t provide.
  • Make clear Kodi's legality of use in its intended and reference distributed form.
  • Ensure a continuity of experience independent of platform.
  • Permit and encourage our wider community, including developers, software distributors and others who collaborate with us to promote and discuss Kodi and to accurately describe their affiliation to us.
  • Maintaining our XBMC Foundation Marks as a reliable indicator of source, quality and security of the Kodi code.

Underlying our trademark policy is the general law and definitions of trademarks. Their usage is fundamental to building the trust of the end user or consumer in the reliability and worthiness of the trademarked product. If those trademarks are not upheld and policed, other producers of lesser quality product may make use of the trademarked logos or names and risk bringing them into disrepute, lessening that trust or generally cause confusion .

What is not tolerated is unauthorised usage of our trademarks to promote other products or services, or the usage of modified versions of our marks which may be mistaken for the original ones. The problem with such activities is that they may be deceptive, harm users, cause consumer confusion, and jeopardize the identity and meaning of the XBMC Foundation Marks.

Such cases range from good intentions but improper use of the trademarks (e.g., overenthusiastic fans), to people intentionally trading on the brand for their own benefit and/or to distribute modified versions of the product, to a clear intent to deceive, manipulate and steal from users in a highly organized and syndicated fashion. When we are notified of such activities, or identify problematic activities, we analyze the those situations and treat each case individually based on the intent and severity of the matter.

The trademarks may also not be used in such a way to bring the Kodi brand into disrepute. Examples include its usage on distributions which make use of pirated or otherwise illegally sourced media material, usage to imply official endorsement where none exists or to otherwise promote or perpetrate fraud or other illegal activities.

In this document we seek to clarify the uses of the XBMC Foundation Marks we consider legitimate and the uses we do not. Fundamentally we seek that the use of the XBMC Foundation Marks be clear, non-confusing and non-disparaging. By non-confusing, we mean that people should always know with whom they are dealing, where the software they are downloading and using came from, who produced it and whether it has been modified. By non-disparaging, we mean that, outside the bounds of fair use, you cannot use the XBMC Foundation Marks as vehicles for defaming us or sullying our reputation. These basic requirements can serve as a guide as you work your way through the policy.

Also please refer to the trademark policy FAQ and examples document as a companion document to this policy.

Above all else, if you are in any doubt, need any clarification or just wish to discuss your usage case with us, please contact us at [email protected] .

3 Software Distributions

There are three main routes by which 3rd parties may wish to make use of the Kodi code and trademarks, either through direct redistribution of reference Kodi binaries, through a packaged distribution integrated within a dedicated operating system, or by forking and rebranding the software (either stand-alone or as part of a package).

3.1 Reference Kodi Redistribution

Distribution of the unchanged official reference binaries (the installer file available for download from to anyone via any suitable medium is allowed, subject to governing law, but without further permission from the XBMC Foundation. The usage of the XBMC Foundation Marks for this purpose is also permitted as long as it is done without charge and in compliance with this policy. No part of either the binaries or the Marks may be removed or altered. In such cases we suggest that you offer the download by means of a link to our main download mirrors, to help ensure faster, more reliable downloads.

If you choose to host and distribute XBMC Foundation reference binaries yourself, they should by default be the latest stable available version. If you compile XBMC Foundation reference unmodified source code (including code and config files in the installer) and do not charge for it, no additional permission is required to use the relevant XBMC Foundation Mark(s) for your compiled version.

To ensure that users get the latest code and security releases, we encourage distribution of the most current official release. The notification requirements of the GNU General Public License have been met for our binaries, so you are not required to ship the source code along with the binaries (although we strongly encourage it to be made available). The terms of the GPL and all other licenses as used in the source code apply and must be upheld in any subsequent use or fork of it.

In relation to the distribution of XBMC Foundation reference binaries (downloaded or self-compiled from source), there are some things that are not allowed. You may not:

  • charge for the distributed XBMC Foundation reference binaries.
  • link the distribution of the XBMC Foundation reference binaries to a subscription or the purchase of a service.
  • collect and store personal information through the distribution.
  • disable, modify or otherwise interfere with any installation mechanism contained in a XBMC Foundation product.
  • use any such installation mechanism to install any plug-ins, themes, extensions, software, or items other than the XBMC Foundation product.
  • use or provide any program, mechanism or process (other than an installation mechanism contained in the XBMC Foundation product) to install such additional product. Any use of a meta-installer would require our prior written permission.

In case of doubt please contact Team Kodi to discuss your case and whether any proposed changes would require a rebrand or if approval would be available.

3.2 Repackaged Reference Kodi Distribution

Usage of reference Kodi in the repackaged case is focussed on providing the Kodi end user experience that is minimally changed from our original. In such cases required patches or other modifications to make the distribution functional should be for basic operational reasons or to provide OS-level functionality to wrap around Kodi and allow the package to operate fully and correctly.

This comes with a maintenance requirement since the patches/mods are outside of our normal code tree. Hence code updates may require rebasing, etc and so submission of as many changes as possible to our main upstream repo is encouraged to minimise the burden on everyone. Any required patches should be provided in a separate GitHub repo along with a note for each stating what they do and why they are needed. The Kodi team will then review the application and confirm whether approval for use of reference distribution in this way is appropriate or if rebranding will be required. This is especially aimed towards embedded or other similar distributions where settings or controls that would normally be available via the OS (but outside of Kodi) must be accessed through an add-on or service instead, but do not directly alter the functionality of Kodi itself.

It is of course encouraged that any such modifications do not break or remove Kodi functionality. Any such examples should be documented along with communication to relevant parties to resolve such issues.

For such usage case, an official request to use the Kodi brand name and trademarks must be made to the Kodi Foundation board. If this is approved then the approval will be formally communicated by an electronic document (or at our discretion by other suitable means) and will be recorded on our official wiki. The Kodi name and marks may then be used in co-branding with any package brand names and/or marks of the distribution itself.

It is also expected that a suitable support mechanism (forum, email or other communication methods) will be offered for user support when questions or issues arise. At the discretion of the moderators of the official Kodi forum, support requests made there relating to the repackaged distribution may be referred to these other support mechanisms, especially those relating to issues outside Kodi itself or to any modifications or patches that have been applied which are not in the reference Kodi distribution.

Such approval may be considered perpetual and ongoing, but will be subject to periodic annual review for continued compliance with this policy and the ethical usage of Kodi. Additionally, if at any time issues are brought to the attention of the Kodi Foundation board and usage of the brand name and trademarks are deemed to be no longer appropriate, a formal request will be made for the issues to be corrected in a timely fashion (no less than 30 days). If a suitable agreement cannot be reached to achieve this then approval may be revoked, at which time rebranding will be required.

Similarly if the board is notified of a violation by a previously approved trademark user and subsequent investigations validate that claim, then a request for correction will be issued with the same timescales and potential actions as above.

3.3 Rebranding

If significant functional or other related changes are made to the XBMC Foundation reference code, then the modified code or binaries compiled from it may not be distributed under any XBMC Foundation trademark, without XBMC Foundation's prior written consent. This is simply to avoid end user confusion and the obvious issues with support that can both easily occur due to such changes.

If they are to be made available or distributed, the code and binaries must be rebranded, with all user visible references to XBMC Foundation Marks replaced with suitable and clearly distinct new vendor equivalents. This is so end users can clearly understand that the product being used is not Kodi, and comes with a different or extended functionality level.

For example, if the product you've modified is Kodi, you may not use XBMC Foundation or Kodi, in whole or in part, in its name. Also, it would be inappropriate to advertise the product as "based on Kodi". Instead, in the interest of complete accuracy, the executables could be described as "based on Kodi technology", or "incorporating Kodi source code."

In addition, if you compile a modified version for distribution (i.e. if it's not the unmodified reference installer package from and wish to use our XBMC Foundation Marks, you will require the XBMC Foundation's prior review and written approval of your modifications before release. You also must change the name of the executable to something clear and distinct from ours so as to reduce the chance that the end user of the modified software will be misled into believing it to be a native official XBMC Foundation product. They should also not be confused as to where to go to seek support for the product.

Again, any modification to the XBMC Foundation product, including adding to, modifying in any way, or deleting content from the files included with an installer, file location changes, added code, modification of any source files including additions and deletions, etc., will require our permission if you want to use the XBMC Foundation Marks. If you have any doubt, just ask us at [email protected]

3.4 Rebranding and add-ons, skins and other extensions

A part of rebranding is often the usage of different default skins, default installed add-ons and other backend infrastructure. Such changes and inclusions are not permitted in redistribution of reference Kodi, so if you wish to do so then rebranding will be required.

For rebranded derivate products, using a custom distinct skin (or at least a change of the default colour scheme) can emphasise the uniqueness of the product compared to reference Kodi and reduce the risk of user confusion between them. Extended functionality can be shipped "out of the box", or tailored towards more specific areas of user need or requirement.

Lastly we strongly recommend that any rebranded distribution also makes use of its own backend infrastructure for add-ons and downloads. Mirrors and a repository will be required anyway for your own add-ons when rebranding, and we are happy for your repo to synchronise with ours via rsync (please contact us for assistance with that). Most importantly however by using your own infrastructure you are taking control and ownership of it, without any dependence. For example if the reference Kodi infrastructure has to be taken down temporarily for maintenance or has other load issues, your product will be unaffected, meaning no unplanned downtime of your own.

4 Third Party Add-ons and Related Software

XBMC Foundation products are designed to be extended, and we recognize that community members writing add-ons and supplemental software need some way to identify the XBMC Foundation product to which their add-on/software pertain. Our main concern about add-ons and related software is that consumers not be confused as to whether they are official (meaning approved by XBMC Foundation) or not. To address that concern, we request that add-ons and supplemental software names not include, in whole or in part, the words "XBMC Foundation" or "Kodi" in a way that suggests a connection between XBMC Foundation and the add-on or software (e.g., "Frobnicator for Kodi," would be acceptable, but "Kodi Frobnicator" would not).

Similarly if the add-on or software relates to trademarked third party names, sources or services then it should clearly be stated in the user-visible information whether any official relation or endorsement is in place or not.

5 Printed Materials and Web Sites

We encourage and allow the use of the XBMC Foundation Marks in marketing and other publicity materials related to XBMC Foundation or the relevant XBMC Foundation product to promote our brand. This includes advertising stating that a person or organization is shipping XBMC Foundation products. Any such use of a XBMC Foundation trademark however is subject to the overarching requirement that its use be non-confusing and is truthful and honest.

For examples of non-permissible usage are that you are:

  • raising funds for the XBMC Foundation when the actual cause supported is for a specific add-on or project not sanctioned by the Foundation.
  • publishing a review or distribution of XBMC Foundation reference Kodi when you are actually reviewing or distributing a modified derivative version of the binaries or code.
  • using XBMC Foundation logos or other Marks on book covers, product packaging or advertising to suggest official endorsement, representation or authority from the Foundation.

Although many uses of the XBMC Foundation Marks are governed by more specific rules, which appear below, the following basic guidelines apply to almost any use of the XBMC Foundation Marks in printed materials, including marketing, articles and other publicity-related materials, and websites:

  • Proper Form - XBMC Foundation's trademarks should be used in their exact form -- neither abbreviated nor combined with any other word or words (e.g., "Kodi" rather than "KMC" or "KEC").
  • Accompanying Symbol - The first or most prominent mention of a XBMC Foundation trademark should be accompanied by a symbol indicating whether the mark is a registered trademark ("®") or an unregistered trademark ("™"). See our Trademark List for the correct symbol to use.
  • Notice - The following notice should appear somewhere nearby (at least on the same page or on the credits page) the first use of a XBMC Foundation trademark: "[TRADEMARK] is a ["registered", if applicable] trademark of the XBMC Foundation".
  • Distinguishable - In at least the first reference, the trademark should be set apart from surrounding text, either by capitalizing it or by italicizing, bolding or underlining it. In addition, your website may not copy the look and feel of any XBMC Foundation website to avoid visitor confusion about which company he/she is dealing with.
  • Comply with Visual Guidelines - any use of the XBMC Foundation Marks must comply with our Trademark and Logo Usage Policy and our Visual Identity Guidelines at:

6 Domain Names

If you want to include all or part of a XBMC Foundation trademark in a domain name, you have to receive written permission from XBMC Foundation. People naturally associate domain names with organizations whose names sound similar. Almost any use of a XBMC Foundation trademark in a domain name is likely to confuse consumers, thus running afoul of the overarching requirement that any use of a XBMC Foundation trademark be non-confusing.

To receive written permission, please download and follow the directions as outlined in the Domain Name License.

7 Services Related to XBMC Foundation Software

Any usage of XBMC Foundation Marks in relation to third party services relating to XBMC Foundation software must be clear, unambiguous and not misleading or confusing. Specifically such usage must not imply or suggest that your website, service or product is an XBMC Foundation website, service, or product, or that XBMC Foundation has any direct relationship with or endorsement of your organization without direct written approval from the Foundation.

Acceptable usage would be for a website to say, "Media center customization services for Kodi available here.", but unacceptable would be saying, "Kodi media center customization services sold here," or "custom Kodi media centers available here,". The first suggests that XBMC Foundation is related to your business, and the second is confusing as to whom - you or the XBMC Foundation - will perform the customization.

In addition, your website may not copy the appearance, look and feel of any XBMC Foundation website. Again, we do not want the visitor to your website to be confused with whom she/he is dealing. If in doubt, err on the side of providing more, rather than less, explanation and information.

If you are offering services for XBMC Foundation software (for example, support), you may not tie the download of the XBMC Foundation product with the purchase of your service. The download of the XBMC Foundation product using the XBMC Foundation trademark may not be connected in any way to the purchase of your service. The purchase, download, or acquisition of your services must be a completely separate transaction from the download of the XBMC Foundation product.

You must provide a prominent statement that:

(i) the XBMC Foundation product is available for free and link directly to our site.

(ii) the purchase, download, or acquisition of your service is separate from the download of the XBMC Foundation product.

(iii) your service is not affiliated with, endorsed by nor representitive of the XBMC Foundation.

8 XBMC Foundation Marks and Merchandise

The usage of XBMC Foundation Marks for commercial products for retail sale or promotion is not permitted without prior written approval and permission from the XBMC Foundation. This is regardless of whether a profit is made or not from the sale. The XBMC Foundation contracts with third party vendors that provide certain specific XBMC Foundation products for sale.

We do not object to personal "fan items" such as T-shirts, desktop wallpaper, or baseball caps with XBMC Foundation Marks on them, as long as they are strictly for usage by yourself and your friends, and are not distributed for payment or to receive anything of value in return.

The Marks used should not be altered in any way though, nor used in a defamatory or undesirable fashion. The use of modified marks raise the possibility of consumer confusion, and is not allowed.

9 Things You Can Do: Some Examples

To summarize, provided that the use adheres to our trademark policy and visual guidelines, here are some of the things that you can do with the XBMC Foundation Marks that do not require our permission:

  • use the XBMC Foundation Marks in marketing, and other publicity materials related to XBMC Foundation or the relevant XBMC Foundation product.
  • distribute unchanged XBMC Foundation product(s) (code + config) for each platform downloaded from as long as you distribute them without charge.
  • describe your executables as "based on XBMC Foundation technology", or "incorporating XBMC Foundation source code".
  • link to XBMC Foundation's website(s) to allow your visitors to download Kodi.
  • use XBMC Foundation's word marks in describing and advertising your services or products relating to a XBMC Foundation product, so long as you don't do anything that might mislead customers. For example, it's OK if your website says, "Media center customization services for Kodi available here".
  • make t-shirts, desktop wallpaper, or baseball caps though only for yourself and your friends (meaning people from whom you don't receive anything of value in return).

10 Reporting Trademark Abuse

If you have concerns about a possible abuse of our trademark or brand, please contact us at [email protected] including as much information and detail as possible. We will endeavour to look into it and take appropriate action if required.

The more information you supply when you file the report, the easier it is for us to evaluate and respond appropriately. Having the support and help of our community makes our work easier and more worthwhile. It also helps to ensure the longer term continued success of the project.

11 Questions

We have tried to make our trademark policy as comprehensive as possible.

If you're considering the use of a XBMC Foundation trademark that's not covered by the policy, and you're unsure whether that use would run afoul of XBMC Foundation's guidelines, feel free to contact us at [email protected] and ask.

Please keep in mind that XBMC Foundation receives lots and lots of similar questions, so please review all available documentation, including the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) as well.