A UK crackdown on illegal streaming is taking place across the country, with a particular focus on IPTV and modified Amazon Fire Stick users.

Streaming services have embedded themselves within our culture alongside digital and cable TV, with subscriptions to Netflix, Amazon’s Prime Video and Disney+ just another monthly expense.

But not everyone likes the idea of paying, with content from popular streaming services – plus the likes of Apple TV+, TNT Sports and Sky Sports – regularly downloaded for free through illicit means.

What can happen if you stream illegally?

Well, you can land yourself in court over copyright breaches for doing this, with the chances of this happening now seemingly bigger than ever.

While it’s not against the law to own a modified or hacked fire stick, using it to watch the likes of Sky Sports is a big no-no and breaks copyright law.

And now this week, a new operation has been launched, with an arrest made.

The latest crackdown: what does it mean?

Teaming up in a crackdown on illegal streaming includes the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) at City of London Police, the Premier League, and the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT).

Some 11 people have been brought in by police, with one of them arrested and 10 interviewed under caution.

All 11 had been selling illegal access to premium TV content, including live Premier League matches via modified or ‘fully loaded’ smart TV devices or sticks such as an Amazon Fire Stick running Internet Protocol television (IPTV).

All 11 people told police they were stopping their activity after receiving conditional cautions.

If they don’t abide by the conditions placed on the caution, they’ll be brought back in to face further prosecution.

The Premier League is trying to crack down on illegally streaming sport from Sky Sports.

Getty Stock Images

How does IPTV work?

IPTV works by delivering live TV shows or on-demand content over IP networks, meaning it’s via the internet rather than traditional broadcast TV or satellite.

Officers travelled to various locations, including Portsmouth, Wales, Hartlepool, Middlesborough, Leeds, Manchester and Bury to carry out interviews.

“The success achieved through this targeted operation is directly attributable to the outstanding effort and robust support from PIPCU,” said Kieron Sharp, CEO of FACT.

“By implementing these measures, a strong message has been conveyed: piracy is a criminal act that is treated with the utmost seriousness and decisive action will be taken against suppliers of illicit services regardless of their size or scale.

Fire Sticks are regularly used as a device through which to watch IPTV.

Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

“We remain vigilant in monitoring platforms, including modified fire sticks that promote and distribute illegal streams, taking decisive action against those selling illegal access to premium TV content. FACT and its partners are determined to disrupt these criminal operations and non-compliance will lead to further law enforcement action.”

The dangers of illegal streaming

Detective Chief Inspector Emma Warbey, from PIPCU, warned that using illegal streaming methods ‘exposes end users to the risks of data theft, fraud and malware’.

Research from BeStreamWise says one in three people who illegally stream have been a victim of fraud, scams, or identity theft as a result of using illicit means to watch premium content.

She said: “Illegal streaming is a huge issue for the industry and while it may seem like a low-risk, high-reward crime, the proceeds are used to fund other serious forms of criminal activity.”

Featured Image Credit: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images/Getty Stock Images

Topics: Amazon, TV and Film, Premier League, Crime, UK News, London, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney, Disney Plus, Sport

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