Safe Content Streaming in 2020


The European Consumer Centres’ Network recently put together up-to-date guidelines on how to access and use legal and legitimate streaming content online, and practical advice on how to deal with illegal and scam streaming sources on the Internet. 

What is illegal streaming?

According to a recent report by the European Union Intellectual Property Office, in Ireland, 5.1% or 170 788 people accessed unauthorised streaming sites in 2018. It notes in relation to ILLEGAL IPTV IN THE EUROPEAN UNION that  consumers opting for free of charge infringing access to Internet Protocol Television Video (IPTV) streaming sites and web sources are more likely to be exposed to malware and unwanted advertising.

Another joint report by Europol and the European Union Intellectual Property Office provides an assessment of the emerging threats and impact of intellectual property crime in the European Union, among which the presence of increasingly sophisticated organised crime groups behind cyber piracy activities, including illegal streaming.

It states that, “Many consumers are attracted to accessing illegal digital content, not only because it is free, but also because of availability. Indeed, studies have found that 52 to 95 % of consumers using illegal sources also use various lawful services to access content online. Young Europeans in particular do not feel any compunction about accessing and downloading illegal content when this is cheap or free, and legal content is hard to access.

While consumers are attracted to these kind of websites by the free content they can find there, in many cases these same websites are used to target exactly those types of consumers with phishing attempts or the dissemination of malware. It is estimated that one in four persons who stream illegally through a box or stick are affected by a virus or malware. Different kinds of malware and potentially unwanted programmes (PUPs) have been found on suspected websites sharing copyright-infringing content for free, which use deceptive techniques and social engineering to trick consumers into sharing sensitive personal information or even payment card details.”

Why is this important?

It is important because illegal streaming or streaming of protected content comes with a variety of risks both for the user streaming the stolen content and the creator of the content.

Europol identifies these are the main threats associated with illicit and pirate activities:

  • Malicious software infecting your electronic device
  • Criminals accessing your personal and financial information
  • Your payment credentials getting stolen
  • Financial loss if services are suspended
  • Streaming websites and apps could expose younger viewers to inappropriate content via pop-up advertisements
  • Your favourite TV shows being cancelled due to the lack of financing
  • By purchasing streaming services, you are helping criminals to finance other types of crime
  • You could be mining cryptocurrencies for criminals.”

What you need to know

Read the guide on what constitutes illegal streaming by the European Consumer Centres Network here.

How you avoid the traps of illegal streaming


Download the entire safe streaming leaflet for later use here: