How to Use Kodi Without Breaking the Law

Christian Cawley 30-08-2017

You’ve been streaming sports and movies on your Kodi media center, without realizing that, actually, you probably shouldn’t. But now the penny has dropped, and you want to move on.


Is it time to dump your Kodi box (don’t worry, it’s still legal to own and use What Are Kodi Boxes and Is It Legal to Own One? In this article, not only do we explain what Kodi boxes are, but also offer you a definitive answer on their legality. Read More ) or can you still enjoy your favorite movies, TV shows, music, podcasts, and sport?

kodi legal library

Cull the Kodi Add-ons

To start, you need to give some attention to the various add-ons you have installed on your Kodi box. Where legal challenges have been made, you’ll find that the add-ons concerned have stopped working. It doesn’t matter whether you run Kodi on an Android-based TV box, an Amazon Fire Stick How to Install Kodi Media Center on an Amazon Fire Stick In this article we explain how to install Kodi on an Amazon Fire TV Stick. Which, when you've finished, will leave you with the best media center for anyone on a budget. Read More , a desktop or laptop computer, or on a Raspberry Pi Install Kodi to Turn Your Raspberry Pi Into a Home Media Center If you have a Raspberry Pi, you can turn it into a cheap but effective home media center just by installing Kodi. Read More — you don’t want these add-ons any longer.

This isn’t a quick task either, sadly. You’ll need to boot your Kodi device, and run through every single add-on to confirm whether it works or not. And if it does work, check that it is offering content legally.

Here’s a clue: if movies and TV shows are being streamed and you’re not paying for them, you should uninstall the add-on.


kodi legal uninstall

To uninstall your unwanted Kodi add-on, browse to the Add-ons > My Add-ons menu and select the add-on in question. In the next screen, find the Uninstall button, and click or tap it. Confirm your decision and wait a moment for the add-on to be removed. You’re done!

Find Official and Legal Add-ons

If you’ve got anything left over, it’s probably things like YouTube, or some podcast channels. This is fine: you’re on the right track to using Kodi without attracting any unwanted attention from the feds. You won’t have difficulty finding legal add-ons offering quality content, either.

The vast majority of add-ons that you can trust to deliver legally-sourced content can be found in the official Kodi Add-on repository. However, you certainly should not be without the following:

  • YouTube
  • USTVNow
  • Twitch
  • ESPN 3 (valid subscription required)
  • Plex for Kodi (Plex Pass required)

You’ll find so much more, too, from FunnyOrDie to comedy channels, podcasts, TED Talks… the list goes on.

kodi legal addons

These can be found in My Add-ons > Add-on Repository, where the Kodi Add-on repository should be enabled. Once you’ve done this, you’ll have access to the full selection of safe add-ons via Add-ons > Download > Video add-ons (and other categories too).

Add Storage to Your Kodi Box

Have you purchased movies and boxsets that you wish to watch on Kodi? You have several options here. The simplest is to just browse Kodi until you find the droids media you’re looking for.


To do this, open the Movies screen (or TV shows, Music, or Music videos) then Enter Files. Here, click Add Videos (or TV shows, etc.) and Browse to the directory where you media is stored, clicking OK to finish. You’ll then be prompted to scan for metadata related to the media files — descriptions, DVD covers and movie posts, etc. This will happen automatically as long as your Kodi box is connected to the internet, using a pre-installed add-on.

kodi legal external hdd

However, if there’s nothing stored on your Kodi box, the results will be limited. As a result, you should consider adding storage to Kodi. If your Kodi media center is a home theater PC, then additional space probably won’t be an issue — all you will need to do is copy your videos to it via FTP.

Meanwhile, if you’re one of the many people using a compact Android-based Kodi box, or a Raspberry Pi running OpenELEC or OSMC, then a physical drive should be attached via USB. This can be a USB flash device USB Flash Drive Guide: 5 Things to Know When Buying One USB flash drives might seem mundane and straightforward, but there are a few tips and quirks that you should know before you buy your next one. Read More or an external hard disk (or solid state drive). This is also an option for PCs and laptops.


Note that on low-power devices, the external storage will probably require its own power supply.

Once connected, you should be able to find media on the device via Kodi. Use the same steps as above, using Browse to find the external device rather than a local directory.

Enjoy Video and Music From Remote Sources

If an external hard disk drive isn’t an option (perhaps you’re using an Amazon Fire Stick, or your Android based Kodi box is short on USB ports) then you can stream media from remote sources on your local network.

Such a remote source might be another PC on your network, or perhaps a NAS solution 7 Reasons to Use a NAS for Data Storage & Backups External hard drives are great for data storage, but there are many more benefits to using a network-attached drive instead. Here's everything you need to know. Read More . Network Attached Storage works like a network drive, and is a way of running your own local cloud storage. Note that videos purchased and downloaded from some sources may be restricted by DRM What Is DRM & Why Does It Exist If It's So Evil? [MakeUseOf Explains] Digital Rights Management is the latest evolution of copy protection. It’s the biggest cause of user frustration today, but is it justified? Is DRM a necessary evil in this digital age, or is the model... Read More , which can limit streaming to another device (such as your Kodi box).

kodi legal nas storage

To add a network resource to stream media from, you’ll need to first ensure that device is visible on your local network. This is usually straightforward; if you’re accessing a NAS, for instance, its purpose is to be visible. If you’re trying to access data from a public drive on a Windows PC, our guide to Windows network shares will help you.

Adding the device means once again heading to the Movies screen (or the TV shows screen, etc.), clicking Add Videos and identifying the network share you want. Click OK, then select the share to find the right directory and click Add.

Kodi Is Awesome No Matter How You Use It

The free-for-all is over. It’s the end of an era — but that doesn’t mean that it is the end of Kodi. Everything you need to enjoy video and audio content (TV, movies, your music collection, podcasts, and even photos) is built into Kodi. Using Kodi legally is simple:

  • Remove add-ons streaming copyrighted content without permission.
  • Only use official (legal) add-ons.
  • View your own movies from a USB device.
  • Stream content over your home network from another PC or NAS box.

It doesn’t matter whether Kodi is installed on your main PC, a HTPC, an Amazon Fire stick, your game console, or even on an Android box or Raspberry Pi. Take these steps to make sure your Kodi media center is legal, and start enjoying it the right way. We also recommend our Kodi setup tips for an optimal experience How to Use Kodi: The Complete Setup Guide Our beginner's guide shows how to install the Kodi software, how to navigate through the initial setup, and how to load add-ons. Read More .

Related topics: Kodi, Law, Media Player, Media Server, Media Streaming.

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  1. Mike
    February 23, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    One issue I have with this article... It says that if I'm streaming a TV show or movie without paying for it, I need to get rid of that add-on. However, there are some add-ons that let you stream movies and TV for free legally, such as Crackle, or TV network website success, which are legally available in the official Kodi repository.

  2. Spectre Death
    January 9, 2018 at 5:26 am

    1. You have users that use Kodi because of rather than in spite of the fact that they can get add ons like exodus (+ Ex. forks) or the ever expanding list of Kodi builds that are geared to achieving that end result.

  3. Spectre Death
    January 9, 2018 at 5:19 am

    This article is pretty polarizing I'd wager that you have only a few types of users at least in my experience.

  4. billdehaan
    September 3, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    One of the simplest routes to ensure your box is above board is to by from a reputable vendor.

    Generally speaking, any vendor advertising "FREE TV AND MOVIES FOR LIFE!" is likely cramming every dodgy plugin under the sun into the build of Kodi on the box. I've seen boxes which would barely boot before requesting the user's credit card info, and with 1300 plugins, it was impossible to tell what was making the demand. It was usually easier to uninstall Kodi entirely, then reinstall it cleanly from Google Play.

    Personally, I grabbed an Arnu box. In addition to the SP/DIF 5.1 audio, one of the reasons i went with them is that they have a custom Kodi build (they run on Linux) called Ember, and they set up a plugin system called CloudWords. Simply put, it's a curated list of plugins, organized by country and function, which have been scoped out ahead of time, weeding out the malware/pirate/dodgy stuff, and taking only things from approved sources.

    • Tee76
      September 16, 2017 at 9:18 pm

      The simplest route is download from kodi.tv to your platform of choice and read the wiki.... best of all it's free that way

  5. Dizzy
    August 30, 2017 at 9:57 pm

    Don't forget Emby (formerly Media Browser).

    If you are concerned about breaking the law then ensure the media you are storing is legal. The reality RIGHT NOW is that streaming is a grey area, but downloading content, putting it on a storage device and playing it is very illegal. I'm talking about the copy of the movie still in the theater, last night's Game of Thrones episode, or the Friends boxset you grabbed via torrents.

  6. Tee
    August 30, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    Not happy!

    • Ash
      August 30, 2017 at 8:44 pm

      Kodi addons are like drug dealers. One gets taken down and 5 more popup.

      • Gregory Scott
        January 2, 2018 at 1:50 am

        Yep, I'm bound to OD one day!