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UK government: 15% of web users watch content illegally

IPO_IP_crime_and_enforcementApproximately 6.7 million UK internet users, some 15%, consumed at least one item of online content illegally during the three months prior to March 2017, according to government stats.

The UK Intellectual Property Office’s ‘IP Crime and Enforcement Report 2016/17’ claimed that “criminality threatens to implicate millions of ordinary consumers” as the use of set-top boxes to stream unlicensed TV shows rises.

The report cites Industry Trust for IP figures that suggest that 19% of adults now watch copyright free material through IPTV set-top boxes, such as Kodi devices.

It also said policing ‘technological misuses’ and ‘social media distribution’ requires investment, cooperation and raised awareness of the consequences of IP crime amongst consumers and business people.

“Illicit streaming devices, which were highlighted as an emerging threat in last year’s IP Crime Report, have become mainstream products in some parts of the UK, and the subsequent threat to those working to create, produce, distribute and sell films and TV programmes is enormous,” according to the Alliance for Intellectual Property section of the report.

Chief Constable Sussex Police, Giles York, commented that the emerging threat of illicit streaming devices is “undermining the creative industries involved in bringing films and TV shows to market.”

FACT, a UK intellectual property organisation that works on behalf of the sports, TV and film industry, said that 70% of its active ongoing cases relate to ‘illicit streaming devices’, and that 47% of its public complaints in 2016/17 related to these devices – up from 18% in 2015/16.

Government figures claim that the UK economy loses £9 billion per year through IP crime, while the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates that the value of Europe’s illegal market is £76 billion.