Illegal streamers want to access content legitimately, data suggests
Data reported from the IPO shows TV and film piracy remains stagnant, but it also suggests those infringing copyright are only doing so as a last resort
A fresh report from the government has put the recent rise in illegal television and film streaming down to the use of an open-source media application, rather than on the complex and often archaic licensing restrictions placed on content by producers and distributors.
The Intellectual Property Office said the fall in illicit access to television, films and music had stalled.
Previously, the drop in illegal downloads and streaming was put down to a change of direction from the entertainment industry, which for many years had fought tooth-and-nail to prevent users easily accessing content online.
That led to the creation of such products as Spotify for music, BBC iPlayer for free-to-air television and Netflix and NOW TV for premium television and films.
But now, the IPO has reportedly found around one in four internet users accessed material in non-standard ways in the last three months - the same number as did one year ago.
The report was prepared for the IPO by Kantar Media, the Telegraph reported, and was due for official release in the next few days.
At the same time, the office was running a consultation into the use of internet streaming devices running the popular, free and open-source ‘Kodi’ software, to work out whether current laws were working.
The software - which is not illegal, and designed to allow someone to access and share media they have the rights to - allows users to install ‘add-ons’; many of which are built and distributed to allow someone to stream or download content behind the backs of broadcasters and content owners.
But the report also reportedly showed that infringers were by and large accessing content legitimately, suggesting they were only turning to illicit sources when the content they wanted was not available in a legal way.
The top six sources for infringers were BBC iPlayer, YouTube, ITV Player, Netflix, 4OD and Amazon Instant Video - all legitimate streaming platforms, with ‘Putlocker’, a popular depository for illegal video content, coming in seventh.
Kodi came in as the eighth most popular source, with another popular piracy platform uTorrent winning tenth place, after Channel 5’s streaming service.
Many of the traditional broadcasters have been criticised in recent years for not keeping up with changing consumer behaviours, with some series still being released a long time after other countries, or not online at all, and others only staying online for four weeks, meaning a user cannot catch up from the start of the series once it is more than four episodes in.