Illegal streaming – know the risks

Streaming pirated films, TV programmes and sports matches is illegal.

Illegal streaming: know the risks

Illegal streaming

Did you know…

  • Streaming pirated films, TV programmes and sport is a crime
  • 1 in 4 people who stream illegally* have been affected by viruses and malware
  • 1 in 10 people who stream illegally* have been a victim of fraud
  • 1 in 20 people who stream illegally* have had their personal details stolen

*those who stream through a modified box, stick or add-on and app
Source: ICM ISD Quarterly Tracker 2018

What is illegal streaming?

Illegal streaming is the streaming of pirated copies of films or TV shows or premium sports content without the copyright owner’s permission. This can include watching illegal content using an add-on accessed from a device like a set-top box or a stick, streaming from an unauthorised website, or streaming via an app (on a mobile phone, tablet, laptop or gaming system.)

Streaming hardware devices like set-top-boxes, or sticks in their unaltered form are legal - but many are being modified and then sold, with unauthorised add-ons pre-installed that allow people to access, stream and watch pirated copies of copyrighted content illegally.

Some examples of pirated content are films that are not yet released in the UK, TV programmes that haven’t aired yet or that are only being shown in the UK on subscription channels for which you don’t have an account, pay-per-view offerings for which you have not paid and sports events that are shown legally only on sports channels for which you do not have a subscription.

In short, if you are streaming and watching - for free - films, TV shows or sport that should be paid for (or that are not legally available in the UK), then you are streaming illegally.

It is not a grey area: those who load up, advertise, sell or distribute dodgy streaming boxes and sticks are committing a crime, as is anyone who uses one of these dodgy devices to stream illegal content.

What are the risks?

Every time you access illegal content, whether it’s to watch your favourite film, sports or TV show using a modified box or stick or via unauthorised website, app, add-on or another illegal source, you could be exposed to dangerous pop ups, malware and/or the risk of fraud and hacking. A recent court judgement also highlighted that consumers risk criminal prosecution by using one of these devices to illegally stream content.

Additionally, watching content via an unauthorised website, a modified box, stick or add-on can expose younger viewers to explicit advertisements and age-inappropriate content. Unlike most legal sources, these unauthorised websites, devices, apps, add-ons and the content that they can access have no effective parental controls.

What to do if you suspect someone is selling illegal streaming devices

Those who load up, advertise, sell or distribute dodgy streaming devices are committing a crime.
We’re working with the Intellectual Property Office and other industry partners to raise awareness of the risks and help protect you from the impacts of illegal streaming. 

If you have information on who is selling, distributing or promoting these fully loaded devices - or offering them with instructions for modifying them to access illegal content - it’s easy and safe to contact us by phone on 0800 555 111 or online anonymously. 

How to stay legal

Get It Right can help you identify how to access legal content and give you more support to keep you safe. Get It Right helps you get the music, TV, film, games, books, newspapers, magazines and sport that you love from genuine and safe services.
FindAnyFilm is one of the UK’s leading websites for film and TV fans looking to book, buy and watch film and TV shows. The website offers more than 122,000 films and TV programmes across all formats, from cinema to disc, and digital.
To access legitimate sports content and live streaming of a variety of sports matches in the UK, please visit one of the below sites: