Illegal Streaming Devices – Know the facts
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Streaming devices, such as set-top-boxes or sticks are perfectly legal when used to access content that has been legitimately paid for or that is legally available for free, but many are being modified or purchased with unauthorised apps and add-ons pre-installed that allow people to illegally watch copyrighted content.
From movies that have not been released yet in the UK, TV programmes that haven’t aired yet or that are only being shown on subscription channels, to pay-per-view offerings, and subscription sports channels. If other people pay for the content you are watching for free, then you are watching illegally.
It is not a grey area: if you load-up, advertise, market, or sell dodgy streaming devices, you are committing a crime. We want to raise awareness of the risks. We are not asking for personal information about those watching content using those types of devices, but we do want to make you aware that you are breaking the law if you stream content from illegal apps and add-ons. That said, please tell us about people who are advertising, selling, loading up or supplying dodgy devices - or are directing people to use them. Tell us what you know, not who you are. We won't judge, just listen. Once you put down the phone or click send, that is the end of our communication.
Funding organised crime
You may think you’re getting a bargain if you buy a box or stick that is fully-loaded with Kodi software and illegal apps or add-ons, or if you subscribe to a service that offers them through your laptop or mobile device. However, you could also be helping to fund organised crime and bringing it into your community.
Intellectual Property says: “To the consumer Illegal Streaming Devices (ISDs) might appear to be a good thing,
but with clear links to organised crime where does your money actually go? There have been a number of convictions now and work is currently
ongoing to identify those organised groups making huge profits and avoiding tax by supplying poor quality and unsafe devices to consumers.
Each individual that is willing to accept that ‘it’s OK to get access to services without paying’ undermines the creative industries and there
could come a time when those losses mean catastrophic results to the companies concerned and individuals employed by those industries. Would you book a taxi ride and then expect not to pay?”
Are people being convicted for this crime?
People are getting big fines and even going to prison for selling illegally modified streaming devices. A recent case in Nottingham saw Terry O’Reilly sentenced to four years in prison after he was discovered to be selling devices to pubs and consumers which facilitated mass piracy, including the broadcasting of Premier League football on unauthorised foreign channels. He was convicted for Conspiracy to Defraud.
This is organised criminal activity
People are claiming benefits whilst making thousands
Suppliers have been fined
The lowdown on illegal streaming devices
Streaming illegal content also leaves you open to cybercriminals accessing your device and data. You can find out more about the risks here.
HITA has partnered with the Intellectual Property Office and other industry partners to help protect you and your family from the impact of illegal streaming.
If you have information on who is selling or distributing these fully loaded devices,
it’s easy and safe to contact us by phone or online anonymously.
Got information? Tell us 100% Anonymously. Always.