Government increasing pressure on producers of illegal streaming devices

Sam Gyimah, the Minister for Intellectual Property has highlighted the work being done as part of the Government clampdown on users and providers of illegal streaming boxes who continue to cause damage to the £92 billion creative industries.

Media streaming boxes are devices such as Android TV or Kodi boxes. The devices are legal until they are customised with add-ons that allow access to paid material for free, whether that is live sporting events, new films or subscription TV.

Figures estimate that currently, around one in four people are not paying for what they are watching.

The Intellectual Property Office recently published its response to a Call for Views on illegal streaming. It highlights the success of the current laws with information on recent prosecutions including the owner of a major pirate streaming service providing illegal access to Premier League Football, who was jailed for five years in Newcastle, as well as two suppliers of illegal devices were jailed for four and a half years each for providing devices that allowed customers access to Sky Sports, BT Sport and illegal foreign channels.

The Government, in addition to the current law, are taking new measures to tackle the problem.

They have already delivered an education campaign alongside Crimestoppers to highlight the risks associated with watched content using illegal streaming devices.

Now they have announced they will consider the impact of administrative site blocking as an alternative to requiring a High Court injunction, as well as identifying the mechanisms through which administrative site blocking can be introduced.

There are plans to undertake research into the attitudes of consumers and find out why people are using these devices in order to develop more effective strategies for reducing the level of use.

The Government also play to identify methods of disruption that can be applied to the supply chain, for example, App developers and increase understanding of the effect the infringement occurs in the new generation of Smart TV.

Minister for Intellectual Property, Sam Gyimah said: Illegal streaming damages our creative industries. We have always been clear that media streaming devices used to access ‘paid for’ material for free are illegal. Recent prosecutions have shown that if caught, sellers of boxes adapted in this way face fines and a prison sentence.

“Through our modern Industrial Strategy, we are backing our booming creative industry, which is why we are taking further steps to tackle this threat.”