Streaming on social media has been thrown into the limelight following Kodi blocks
Are social media services becoming the new bastion of free online streams?
Earlier this week, a Sky customer agreed to pay £5,000 after his account was linked to an illegal stream on Facebook.
The feverishly-anticipated fight between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko back in April 2017 was available exclusively on Sky Sports Box Office for £19.95.
The stream, which was viewed by some 4,250 people at its peak, was traced back to the Sky account holder, Craig Foster, of Scarborough.
The Joshua vs Klitschko stream follows a similar case in the USA, which saw a 21-year-old man arrested by federal agents for posting a full version of Deadpool on his Facebook page while the 20th Century Fox movie was still in theatres.
More than five million people streamed the pirated copy, according to US officials.
Craig Foster was agreed to pay £5,000 in legal costs to Sky
In the United States, the offence – reproducing and distributing a copyrighted a copyrighted work – is a felony and carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison.
Following the recent clampdown on free streaming via so-called Kodi Boxes and torrents websites, like KickAss Torrents and The Pirate Baby, it’s possible pirates will increasingly turn to social media.
Media companies are prepared for this eventually, and already have a variety of techniques to track and block pirates across social media sites, like Facebook.
Broadcasters and content creators, like Sky and 20th Century Fox, can use advanced watermarking techniques to pinpoint who is responsible for the illegal stream.
If you’re found to be the source of an illegal stream, they will do everything in their power to halt the illegal broadcast.
For example, your account could instantly be blocked – stopping you from watching or streaming any content.
Broadcasters are acutely aware of when they need to be on the offensive, with live sporting events, like the Joshua vs Klitschko boxing match, preferred by online pirates.
It’s worth adding that whether you’re watching on a Kodi Box, within your desktop web browser, a mobile app, or your Facebook News Feed – you’re breaking all the same laws.
Streaming copyrighted content for free without the permission of the rights holders is illegal.
Back in April 2017, the EU Court of Justice judgement in the Filmspeler case included confirmation that streaming by end users on hardware, like illicit set-top boxes powered by Kodi, constitutes an infringement of copyright.
The new Digital Economy Act, which came into effect in the UK in October 2017, has extended criminal penalties for online copyright infringement to match those of physical copyright infringement – maximum sentences will increase from two years to 10 years.
These changes could now result in longer prison sentences for the those involved in online piracy, as well as distributing illicit streaming devices.
Kodi can be installed on a wide range of hardware, including computers, set-top boxes, and servers
Those who download or stream copyrighted content using a torrent site might find themselves the recipient of a warning letter from their broadband provider.
Dubbed Get It Right, the anti-piracy sees UK ISPs mail-out warnings to subscribers whose accounts have been used to download copyrighted material.
The email cautions subscribers they have 20 days to stop downloading copyrighted material using peer-to-peer websites.
Should your Internet service provider detect more illegal activity from your IP address during the 20 day grace period – another educational email from the Get It Right campaign will be sent.
Carrie Fletcher highlights the importance of copyright for the Get It Right campaign
A similar campaign in the United States only offers torrent site users seven-days to comply.
According to the campaign website, “The Get it Right Educational Email programme is designed to educate consumers about what’s happening on their Internet Service Provider (ISP) account.
“The programme is to help to make sure they, or people that use their connection, are not infringing copyright and to direct them to sources where they get the content they want from genuine sites and services.”
Sky, BT, NowTV, PlusNet, Talk-Talk and Virgin Media have all signed-up to the Get It Right campaign.