Covenant and several addons like it have suddenly stopped working. In this article, we explain why the Covenant addon is missing and what happens next.
The Colossus repository is very well-known and contains several unlicensed streaming addons including Covenant, Bennu, and SportsDevil. On November 15th, this repository was emptied, rendering its addons inaccessible unless already installed. This article will elaborate on the factors that caused Colossus to go offline.
We’ve consistently urged our readers to use only official Kodi addons, but we feel now would be a good time to reiterate this. Official addons come with far fewer security vulnerabilities and aren’t at risk of being taken offline unexpectedly like Covenant was.
Warning: Kodi should only be used for content to which you have the legal right to access. Neither the Kodi Foundation nor Comparitech advocates the use of Kodi for piracy.
Important: Always use a VPN with Kodi
Virtual private networks (VPNs) are often used by people looking to hide unlicensed streaming from their internet service provider (ISP). Despite this, there are many ways a VPN can benefit a Kodi user, even if they only use official sources.
For instance, because a VPN encrypts your network traffic, it can’t be used to justify connection throttling by your ISP. This also means that most Man-in-the-Middle attacks won’t work, which helps keep you and your personal information safe.
Every VPN will slow your connection down to some degree, and some VPN providers keep detailed logs of your online activities. This defeats the purpose of using a VPN in the first place, so it pays to research different providers until you find one that meets your needs.
We recommend IPVanish. IPVanish doesn’t keep track of your activities and offers secure, stable connections to more than 50 different countries. It’s also one of the most portable VPNs, with dedicated Android, iOS, and Amazon Firestick apps.
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What happened to Covenant?
On November 15th, Jsergio123, a Kodi developer responsible for creating the URLResolver addon, among others, announced that his would be stopping work on all their addons. He also noted that the Colossus team had agreed to do the same. Initially, there was speculation about legal threats but the extent of the situation was not made clear until a few hours later.
The UK-based Kodi developer known as The_Alpha had previously worked on the Bennu addon and was rumoured to be involved with the Colossus repository. Shortly after the news of jsergio123’s retirement broke, The_Alpha received a hand-delivered letter at his home address.
This letter turned out to be a cease-and-desist sent by legal representatives of the Motion Picture Association (MPA), an organization that includes heavy hitters like Disney, Paramount Pictures, and Twentieth Century Fox. A copy of this letter was leaked to TVAddons, another Kodi development team that is currently facing their own ongoing legal issues. Soon after, The_Alpha deactivated his Twitter account.
These are the only two confirmed recipients of threats from the MPA but that hasn’t stopped other developers from taking extra precautions. Echo Coder, who had previously worked on Bennu, deleted his Twitter account without any explanation. Additionally, the Origin repo and Smash repository have all been taken offline. In the case of Smash’s, the repository was taken offline to remove the new-dead addons mentioned above. The Ares Wizard Twitter account was taken offline, but the team left a message in their Pulse CCM build telling users to “sit tight”.
Jsergio123 has since confirmed on Twitter that if he ever returned, he’d only be developing legal addons. Caz Wallace, the man behind the Simply Caz repo, has said the same thing, revealing that he too received a letter from the MPA.
The Gracie’s repo team have been offering now-displaced addons a home, and has moved to a new URL. The team have said that the old URL will be offline shortly, after which point both the old repo and its addons will be inaccessible.
Lucifer, the Kodi addon developer responsible for the Cartoon Crazy and KissPanda addons, has also announced his retirement and posted proof that he had deleted his GitHub account. However, some of Lucifer’s addons have been picked up by other developers and rebranded. For instance, Cartoon Crazy is now Spinz Cartoon Crazy and will be maintained by Chris Spez, a new addition to the Noobsandnerds team. Dandy Media, another fairly popular developer, has also deleted both their Kodi repository and Twitter account.
What happens next?
It’s unclear whether Covenant will come back online. Although reuploading or forking Covenant would open developers up to similar legal repercussions as The_Alpha and jsergio123 faced, when Exodus went offline earlier this year it was quickly picked up by other developers before Covenant came around and replaced it.
It should be noted that the only people who received legal threats were developers of addons that provide unlicensed access to content. As such, the response from official addon developers has been much more restrained, with Gracie Green, the creator of Gracie’s repo, calling for calm.
Since the URLResolver addon has a use outside of piracy, the TVAddons team have decided to continue maintaining it, although they mention that without jsergio123 to help, updates might come more slowly for a while.
How to keep your system safe
Because at least one Kodi developer has deleted their GitHub account, that name is now free for anyone to take. We’ve seen this happen before when an Exodus developer quit, so it’s important to take action.
First, consider the addons you have installed. If you have any of the addons from the Colossus or Alpha repositories, you might want to consider uninstalling them. Even if these addons currently work, there’s no guarantee that they will continue to do so and it’s unlikely they’ll be supported from now on anyway.
Since the situation is ongoing and we don’t have a clear idea of which developers are gone for good yet, it’s difficult to give concrete advice. That said, we strongly advise all Kodi users to turn off automatic updates if they haven’t already. This is because if a developer’s server or GitHub account is compromised, an attacker can install malicious updates without any confirmation from the user.
To turn off automatic updates, click the gear icon on Kodi’s main page. Next, click System Settings and scroll down to the Add-ons tab on the left. On the right, select the Notify, but don’t install updates option. This will let you know when a new update is available so you can research it more fully and see if it’s legitimate or not.
Alternatives to the Covenant addon
Remember that Kodi has a wide range of entirely legal addons to choose from. We’ve covered the best repositories before, and we even have specific recommendations for sports, movies, and live TV addons.
The Crackle addon allows Kodi users to access content from the Crackle streaming platform. While similar addons usually only offer little-known titles, Crackle contains several critically acclaimed movies like Inception and Shutter Island.
The best thing about Crackle is that it’s completely free and legal to use. It should be noted that Crackle region-locks their content, so you will have to connect to one of your VPN’s American servers before you can watch anything.
The Crackle addon is available from the Eracknaphobia repository.
BigStar Movies & TV
BigStar Movies & TV boasts an extensive library of free-to-watch films and TV shows. While the web-based version requires users to register a credit card, the Kodi addon does not. This is to allow users to purchase specific titles, but since this can’t be done through Kodi, there’s no need.
This addon contains thousands of titles to choose from. While most of them aren’t well-known, it also offers entire seasons of TV shows like The Inbetweeners. The content is grouped by category and fairly well-organized, so it’s never difficult to find exactly what you’re looking for.
The PlayOn Browser allows you to integrate content from several other subscription services into Kodi. While a free version is available, this only includes a handful of free-to-watch sources. The full service costs $2.50 a month and allows you to connect your Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video accounts along with many others.
Paid membership also unlocks DVR functionality and the ability to skip ads, so it’s definitely a worthwhile investment.
The PlayOn Browser addon can be found in the official Kodi addon repository.
Snagfilms is a free and legal Kodi addon with a library of more than 5000 independent movies and documentaries. These are available in 720p and are grouped into categories for easier browsing. These categories cover everything from sci-fi to politics, so we’re sure you’ll find something interesting to watch.
There’s no search functionality, but since Snagfilms caters to relatively unknown titles, it’s better for finding new content than rewatching things you’ve already seen.
The Snagfilms addon can be found in the official Kodi addon repository.
The Kodi development scene is still reeling from these recent developments and for the time being, the fate of unlicensed streaming on Kodi is uncertain. That said, we’ll continue to monitor the situation and keep you informed of any further developments as the situation progresses.