The UK Government has published its response to a call for views regarding illicit Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) streaming devices. The IPO concluded there is no need to make legislative changes at this time, but they did highlight an ongoing crackdown against producers of illegal streaming devices and outlined new measures to help tackle infringement.
What are illicit IPTV streaming devices?
Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) boxes are multimedia devices, such as Kodi boxes, with software installed which allows them to stream a wide range of media from different sources. They can be plugged into your TV to stream content through the internet, effectively turning it into a smart TV. Whilst such devices can and are used legitimately to collate a variety of media sources into one handy place, there has become an increasing market for devices loaded with software geared towards streaming content illegally.
There are numerous apps and add-ons available which allow users to access copyright-infringing material such as premium sports channels and subscription TV services without payment. Boxes which are pre-loaded with these capabilities are readily available from online retailers and physical stores, and it is thought that there has been a sharp rise in use by consumers. It is difficult to quantify the scale of the problem, but a study in 2016 found that 19% of adults admitted to accessing content illegally in this way, to the detriment of the creative and broadcasting industries.