Are you set out to find answers to the question is IPTV legal? Congratulations, as you are in the right place. Suffice it to say that by reading this post, you will be better informed about using IPTV services. Interestingly, we have split this post into sub-headings. Therefore, if you already have basic knowledge about IPTV, proceed to the sub-topic that interests you.
Firstly, IPTV is in the middle of two extremes. By this, I mean it sits in the middle of pay TV and FTA satellite tv. Contextually, IPTV is a broad term with sub-terms. For this article, our focus shall be mainly on “illegal IPTV services.” Illegal IPTV is otherwise known as “streaming piracy”. Streaming piracy is part of the broadcast piracy phenomenon. Consequently, Illegal IPTV is associated with streaming or downloading television content over the Internet without the permission or authorization of the original content owner.
By way of illustration, other major players in the world of broadcast piracy include but are not limited to the following practices:
- the use of internet keys sharing(IKS), SKS
- cable piracy, and so on.
Now, IPTV in itself is not illegal. There wouldn’t be Google, Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, and the like if it were. On the other hand, when you are guilty of streaming piracy, you are said to be using IPTV services illegally. The question remains is IPTV legal?
Questions that Affect the Legality of IPTV
- What is IPTV?
- is IPTV legal?
- Are IPTV subscriptions illegal in the USA, UK, or other countries?
- Can an individual be prosecuted for using an IPTV Service illegally?
- What is an illegal IPTV service(Streaming piracy)?
- The relationship between IPTV services and Streaming piracy
- Why do people involve in illegal IPTV streaming?
- What are the devices that can play IPTV channels?
- How can one identify an illegal/unofficial IPTV Service?
- Forms of IPTV subscriptions?
- Prosecution of Illegal IPTV Users
- kinds of IPTV Services?
- How does server IPTV work?
- How to identify illegal IPTV services
- Can one get into trouble for using illegal IPTV services?
- Is Kodi media player illegal?
- Where can I obtain legal IPTV Service?
What is Internet Protocol Television (IPTV)?
Internet television, popularly known as IPTV, delivers television content using signals based on the logical Internet protocol (IP). This delivery is as opposed to what we have with traditional terrestrial(UHF/VHF signals), satellite signals, and cable television formats. From a TV watcher’s point of view, IPTV is straightforward.
Instead of receiving TV programs as broadcast signals that enter your home from a rooftop antenna, satellite dish, or fiber-optic cable, you get them streamed (downloaded and played almost simultaneously) through your Internet connection. By the definition above, IPTV means a television via internet protocol.
IPTV has the following nomenclatures:
- internet tv,
- video streaming
- OTT(over-the-top) Video delivery via the internet
- online video streaming
- live video streaming,
- streaming piracy(a new name given to illegal IPTV usage by legal practitioners)
Is IPTV Legal?
IPTV streaming is not entirely illegal. However, you can use IPTV services (especially subscriptions bought from broadcast pirates) in a way that could constitute streaming piracy. Not all IPTV usage is 100% legal.
Technically, the rule of law is all about “proofing a case beyond reasonable doubt”. I will prove in this article what makes some IPTV services/subscriptions illegal.
Pointers to Illegal IPTV Usage?
Generally, merely using IPTV services you purchased or acquired from illegal sources for personal use might not constitute any form of illegality. However, the fact that many are doing it doesn’t make it legal. Individuals in the USA and the UK have suspended their internet accounts because of illegal streaming. It might come to a point when an individual would be tracked to their location for using IPTV illegally.
In addition, if you are using IPTV as P2P streaming, content owners can come after you quickly. Also, some companies are actively considering taking people to court for using these illegal IPTV services to send a message.
Furthermore, you are participating in illegal activity by watching many Kodi plugins for free movies and sports streams. In most cases, you won’t be prosecuted, but you are still involved, and some companies are considering prosecution.
As you can see, these services are illegal, especially regarding offering them to the public. Whether it’s illegal for users to watch these streams depends on individual countries’ laws. Still, on the whole, the legal system is untested in both Europe and the United States, so prosecutions seem unlikely, at least for now.
Is IPTV usage legal in the USA or the UK?
The above response explains it all. The content you are streaming via IPTV determines whether it is legal. However, let me cite some instances from the USA.
Watching an IPTV service (whether it is a legal one or an illegal one) is not illegal in the US. However, rebroadcasting copyright-protected content is illegal in any enlightened society. Furthermore, If you were to download and redistribute content you have acquired from an illegal source, such as IPTV (but not limited to), and share it, that is illegal.
In a second scenario, you are breaking copyright laws if you subscribe to an illegal IPTV service and display the feed in a public venue (hotel, bar, club, etc.). God help you if such content is Hollywood movies or premium sports, as you have more chances of getting nailed with a lawsuit. There is usually little or no risk if you watch TV at home.
Types of Popular IPTV Services
The first kind—and the one you’re probably using already—is called video on demand (VOD), with a service such as Netflix, Hulu, and PSVue. With this kind of IPTV, you select a TV program or movie you want to watch from a wide range, pay your money, and watch it there and then.
Some of the world’s most enterprising TV broadcasters offer a different kind of IPTV. In the UK, the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) sometimes makes its programs available online using a web-based streaming video player called the BBC iPlayer. This kind of service is sometimes called time-shifted IPTV. This is because you’re watching ordinary, scheduled broadcasts at a time that’s convenient for you.
Thirdly, the last kind of IPTV involves broadcasting live TV programs across the Internet as they’re being watched—so it’s live IPTV or IP simulcasting. All three forms of IPTV can work either using your computer and an ordinary web browser or (for much better quality) a set-top box and an ordinary digital TV.
What is streaming piracy?
When you separate the two words, you have streaming on the one hand and piracy on the other hand. First, a stream means transmitting or receiving data (especially video and audio material) over a computer network or internet. Piracy, conversely, implies the illegal copying, distribution, or use of content. In the context of this article, we are talking about broadcast piracy.
Therefore another name for illegal IPTV streaming is broadcast streaming piracy. With broadcast streaming piracy, you are committing an offense known as intellectual property theft. However, It is not inherently illegal for the viewer to watch copyrighted content online in as much as you are not redistributing or selling it. On the other hand, downloading a copy onto your computer without some license violates civil law, and the downloader may be subject to a lawsuit from the copyright holder.
According to Muso CEO Andy Chatterley. “It has become clear that streaming is the most popular way for consumers to access content, whether via legitimate or illegitimate channels.”
Forms of IPTV Subscription Packages
In this segment, I will enumerate various legal and illegal IPTV subscription forms. Also, I would be given some examples of the same.
legal IPTV subscription
- Trial accounts Many legal streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, and so on offer free trial accounts for 7 days. You can avail yourself of this. read more here.
- Also, we have video-on-demand (VOD) IPTV service accounts. Netflix utilizes this method. You pay after selecting the content.
- Time-shift accounts are also on offer. An example is BBC iPlayer
- Finally and the most popular type is live TV IPTV accounts. Many IPTV subscriptions fall under this category. Notable examples include: Sky, beIN connect, DStv now account, Direct tv accounts, etc.
Types of Illegal IPTV Subscriptions
There is no good side without a corresponding dark side. We also have different forms of illegal IPTV subscriptions. The list is as follows:
- Fully-loaded Kodi android tv box accounts: This account utilizes android tv media boxes and a Kodi media player. Once you buy such boxes, you can start watching premium pay-tv content by paying a one-off subscription to the device manufacturer rather than the individual content rights holders. Such boxes are too numerous to mention
- IPTV service accounts that come with some decoders: We have many IPTV accounts that come inbuilt in some decoders. This account can also be used on other devices. Examples are an anewish account, xtv, myhd, home cloud, dreamlike, etc.
- Another form by which illegal IPTV accounts are distributed is through known devices such as Roku sticks, Amazon sticks, and smart TVs. Many people know how to get an account of the above devices.
Free but illegal IPTV Services
We have some free-to-use and free-of-subscription IPTV services that are equally illegal. Some of such services include:
- Certain IPTV Android apps are not available on the google play store. Examples are Mobdro, sports TV, and so on.
- IPTV URL streams. Most live IPTV streams that can be integrated into media players like VLC are illegal.
- Lastly, we have IPTV streaming websites.
Are Subscriptions to Fully-Loaded Kodi Illegal?
This question has come up several times across the web. Also, those behind the development of Kodi have dissociated themselves from piracy many times than none. I would use an illustration of the Apple iPhone to answer this question. Apple sells the iPhone as empty as possible with essential preloaded apps to get you started. Although people might go out of their way to install pirated apps on their phones, the phone manufacturer is not liable.
Similarly, Kodi is not an outlawed app. However, some dudes develop and distribute plugins that violate the copyright protection of content holders via Kodi.
In a nutshell, using Kodi with its official add-ons is free of any legal action. By contrast, if you start installing and using 3rd party Kodi addons that can enable you to stream movies. You might be using illegal Kodi for sports or other copyright-protected programs you would have paid for. Illegal Kodi is codenamed “fully loaded Kodi.”
Summarily, the Kodi player is entirely legal. The 3rd party plugins and add-ons are subject to debate. While Kodi allows watching video content over illegal IPTV servers, tons of providers broadcast legal video content over IPTV. Most Smart TV receivers and streaming boxes like Roku, Chromecast, and apple tv offer plenty of TV networks over the internet. Of course, you can watch HBO, CNN, ShowTime, and other channels by paying a small monthly fee. There are tons of free IPTV providers, which are financed by TV commercials. Pluto TV is one of them, besides Crackle, Roku TV, and others.
Are Android IPTV Set-Top Boxes legal?
Like the Kodi player, Android boxes not tagged “fully loaded” are legal. I recently reviewed one here. However, you are responsible for what you install in your android tv box. However, a dealer selling android tv boxes and emphasizing that it can open named live sports channels(that he doesn’t have the right to) might get into trouble. I have an Android box, I use Kodi on it, but this is for personal use.
How can one Identify illegal IPTV Services?
The pointers to illegal IPTV are not as easy as it appears. However, I will give you a definitive list in this segment.
- It is most likely illegal if the source is not from the original copyright holder or their representative.
- When there is no official structure where the business is carried out, it is most likely illegal.
- It is illegal if the subscription fee is ridiculously cheaper than that of the content creators.
- In addition, illegal IPTV service picture sometimes doesn’t synchronize with that of the official provider. It may run a bit late.
- Picture quality is sometimes a determinant. However, technological advancement has reduced this lag.
- Advertisements and commercials can also be determinants, even though some legal streaming services do the same. Illegal IPTV service providers usually go overboard with their advertisements during the program.
- Finally, geo-restriction is another determinant of an illegal IPTV service. The only exception is when using your official IPTV account outside the supported country of origin. For example, a Netflix account in Nigeria
Why do People involve Themselves in illegal IPTV Streaming?
Moving forward, there is no effect without a cause. There must be reasons why people would leave legal IPTV services such as fuboTV Premier, Bein Connect, sky DirecTV Now, CBS all access, Netflix, and so on to go after illegal IPTV subscriptions. Below are some of the reasons why people patronize illegal IPTV vendors:
- Poverty: This is the primary reason why people go into crime. All fingers are not equal. Many families want to enjoy premium tv content but can’t afford it. Therefore they jump on any cheap means of meeting their wants.
- Some tv contents are overpriced: Imagine you pay for a movie, and after watching it, you feel miserable because you didn’t derive much utility. Consumers are rational, and they would want to test before buying. The high cost of cable tv subscriptions is another factor.
- Geographical restriction: I will call this the greatest injustice. Many contents are restricted to some regions. Let us take Netflix, for example; if you are outside the USA, your IP will be blocked even if you have a legit subscription. This alone can make some opt for the illegal IPTV service. I will, however, advise you to use a VPN to continue enjoying your legal IPTV sub outside the supported country.
- Illegal IPTV constitutes a source of revenue for those involved in it. It is a kind of get-a-rich-quick scheme.
Dangers Inherent in Using Illegal IPTV Services
Surprisingly, it is not smooth for those who subscribe to illegal IPTV services. There are a lot of dangers that can scare many away from these services. I will highlight some of these inconveniences below.
- Using an unofficial IPTV service can make you penny-wise pound foolish. As a useful reminder, the original right holder can block the streams of illegal IPTV streaming without any prior notification. Unfortunately, the end-user will suffer because the seller will be at large when this happens. It is a game of loss if this happens sooner than later.
- Also, your computer or mobile phone can be infected with a virus. Hackers exploit the vulnerability of IPTV users to attack them. If you ever try and free IPTV from unknown sources, use a VPN.
- You can ensure a lawsuit if you are caught using illegal IPTV. The law is a respecter of no one. The content owners will usually slap you with a hefty fine that can plunge you into perpetual debt. Too bad if you are caught as a seller of such services.
- Identity theft is another danger of carelessly subscribing to illegal IPTV services. Please beware
- Instability of the content you stream can also occur occasionally with illegal IPTV. Your program can buffer endlessly.
- Lack of adequate support from illegal IPTV service providers.
- Poor picture quality
- Finally and equally worthy of mention is your conscience as it relates to the morality of what you are doing.
Who are the Providers of illegal IPTV services?
This question will take us all day to answer. Never mind, I will summarize my answer here while I provide you with a link to my article that thoroughly explains it. Hackers are behind most illegal IPTV services. They sometimes hijack the live streams while they hack into the cards of the content providers and get what they need. Also, they can use some hacking tools to redistribute streams from official cards.
Furthermore, IPTV is somewhat more complex. You need a sophisticated storage system for all the videos you want to make available and a web-style interface that allows people to select the programs they want. Once a viewer has selected a program, you need to be able to encode the video file in a suitable format for streaming.
Also, you should encrypt it (encoding it so only people who’ve paid can decode and receive it), embed advertisements (especially if the program is free), and stream it across the Internet to anything from one person to (potentially) thousands or millions of people at a time.
Furthermore, you have to figure out how to do this to provide a consistently high-quality picture (especially if you’re delivering advertising with your programming—because that’s what your paying advertisers will certainly expect). Read the complete guides on IPTV setup here.
What types of Devices can do IPTV?
It doesn’t matter if IPTV is legal or illegal; the same set of devices is required to run either. Technology advancement has enabled you to use IPTV on multiple devices and operating systems. Let me give you a growing list of such devices.
- You can run IPTV on media boxes. Examples include Apple tv, android tv set-top boxes, and many more.
- You pc is another modem through which you can stream IPTV. Windows Media, VLC, and similar players support IPTV URLl\ steaming. Also, you can install Kodi on the PC.
- Some web browsers can also open.m3u IPTV files.
- Linux, Unix, and Ubuntu Operating systems are not left out.
- A Mac computer can also stream IPTV either through Kodi or via VLC.
- Amazon Firestick can do IPTV as well.
- Roku sticks also can open IPTV programs.
- Also, many smartphones, irrespective of the operating system, now support the installation of IPTV Apps. You can use IPTV on Android phones, iPhones, Microsoft phones, and even Blackberry.
Can a Lawsuit or litigation arise from using IPTV Services illegally?
Factually yes, illegal IPTV or streaming piracy is a violation of the copyright protection of contents owners. Consequently, the right holder may seek redress in a court of law. The likelihood of a prosecution depends majorly on the enormity of damages incurred due to the illegal IPTV service.
As expected, the prosecution or litigation is targeted majorly at those making money from illegal IPTV services. For example, as a seller of an illegal IPTV service account that shows beIN channels, your buyers maybe be ignored, but you will be caught and prosecuted once(beIN) they find out. Using Kodi personally is legal(as long as you are not detected). Although, beIN or Sky will not be happy that you are paying some unknown people the subscription fees meant for them.
Where can I buy legal IPTV subscriptions?
The answer is IPTV obtained from the original content owners is stable. In addition, you will enjoy their full support. Suffice it to say that you have consumer protection if your right is trampled upon while using an official IPTV service. Summarily, if you want a legal IPTV service account, make sure you go to the original content owners.
Especially relevant, You can visit their office or give them a call. Going through the backdoor will amount to you viewing their contents illegally. Moreover, I will add some links at the end of this post to further enlighten you on legal and safe IPTV services.
Articles for Further Reading:
- Comparison Between Mobile and Set-top Boxes IPTV Accounts
- Why Uk bans fully-loaded Kodi boxes: Analysis and workaround for clean users
- IPTV Vs Satellite tv and cardsharing. Comparative analysis
- IPTV and Cardsharing encryption technology, A newbie guide
- [Unboxing & Hands-on experience] Anmax x10 Android IPTV box and GameStation
Is IPTV legal? Can one Subscribe to These Services Without any Legal Issues?