Illegally streaming content is something that millions of people in the UK do on a regular basis – but many of those are unaware of the dangers of doing it.
Estimates vary, but up to five million people use illegal means to stream services, such as through certain websites, or chipped devices. However, while streaming pirated content is illegal many see it as a ‘victimless crime’ and are unaware of the penalties for being caught – or the risks they could be exposing themselves too.
The penalties for distributing content that is under copyright are severe. Earlier in the week, Steven King, one of the men behind Dreambox, which allowed illegal access to Premier League football matches, was ordered by Warwick Crown Court to pay back £963,000 under proceeds of crime legislation. If he doesn’t, his existing prison sentence of seven years and four months could be extended by another six years and eight months.
But while many people stream illegal content for their own enjoyment, they could still end up in a heap of trouble. Users of illegal services are vulnerable to things like identity theft, fraud and having their devices infected with viruses.
Indeed, three million illegal streamers were hacked last year, Crimestoppers reported. Of those, more than one million ended up having money stolen from them.
However, a survey by the Federation Against Copyright Theft found that 62% were unaware of the risks of illegal streaming.
So for anyone thinking about illegally streaming the latest hit show, it isn’t just breaking the law – it could leave you seriously out of pocket. Maybe better to suck it up and pay the fees instead – it could be cheaper in the long run, and a lot less stressful!