More than 1m illegal set-top boxes sold in UK: report


More than one million illegal set-top boxes with add-ons have been sold in the UK over the past two years.

That’s one of the findings of a report on digital piracy, released by the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), in conjunction with the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU).

Police Scotland and Entura International, a provider of online piracy analytics and solutions, also contributed to the report, “Cracking Down on Digital Piracy”, which was released on September 14.

“At a conservative estimate, we believe a million set-top boxes with software added to them to facilitate illegal downloads have been sold in the UK in the last couple of years,” said the IPO.

In April, sister site WIPR reported that Europe’s highest court, the Court of Justice of the European Union, ruled that sellers of multimedia players enabling films that are available illegally on the internet to be viewed for free on TV could constitute copyright infringement.

The most recent statistics show that 75% of British people who look at content online abide by the law and don’t download or stream it illegally, up from 70% in 2013.

“But that still leaves 25% who do access material illegally,” said the report.

The report said that criminal gangs make money in three main ways from digital piracy: advertising, subscriptions and malware.

But there’s another recent threat—content ransom—where hackers have claimed to have stolen movies or TV episodes and demanded ransom payments from companies such as Netflix and Disney.

“The sudden emergence of these content ransom attempts suggests that hackers might be exploring new ways to make money through illegal digital piracy,” added the report.

Kieron Sharp, director general at FACT, said: “This report has come at a crucial time in our fight against digital piracy.”

“Pirates are not Robin Hood characters; they are criminals who do it to make money through illicit means. As a result, the risks are high—inappropriate advertising that could be seen by young children, electrical safety associated with counterfeit parts, and financial cyber crime.”

FACT, PIPCU, UKIPO, digital piracy, online copyright, copyright infringement, set-top boxes, piracy, pirate, Cracking Down on Digital Piracy

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