There’s a huge night of boxing ahead as Anthony Joshua takes on Joseph Parker at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.
The fight is being broadcast on Sky Box Office pay-per-view with the evening’s event costing £19.95 and it could be a price worth paying if you want to watch without fear of breaking of the law.
With illegal streaming, via so-called Kodi boxes, on the rise fans may be tempted to bypass Sky’s fee and try and watch online for free.
But doing so comes at a risk.
Watching content without permission is illegal and could land you with a fine or even malware as many these streams are often used by cyber criminals to try and access personal data.
And it’s not just those watching illegally that need to be concerned as even if you have Sky and have paid for the fight you still need to be aware of the piracy risks that surround the big event.
A new warning has just been released by FACT and the City of London’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit telling consumers that misusing their TV subscriptions has serious repercussions.
This alert is aimed at those who might be considering live streaming the fight themselves over services such as Twitter or Facebook live.
Last year Yusuf Mohammed of Bristol was ordered to pay legal costs of over £16,000 and to disclose details about the money he made and people he colluded with for re-streaming Sky Sports content online illegally.
As well as the costs, Mr Mohammed had to pay Sky damages.
Joshua v Joseph live stream warning
Joshua v Joseph live stream warning
Another person was also ordered to pay substantial legal costs for sharing the Joshua vs Klitschko fight on Facebook.
Thousands of people enjoyed the boxing match via a live stream for free which was viewed by some 4,250 people at its peak.
This was eventually traced back to the Sky account holder, Craig Foster, of Scarborough.
Foster says he received a number of letters from Foot Anstey LLP, a law firm representing Sky, following the stream.
One of these letters claimed Foster could face fines of up to £85,000 if the case went to court.
Craig Foster says one of his friends live streamed the fight using an iPad, which was already logged into his Facebook account.
He has agreed to pay £5,000 in legal costs to Sky.
CEO of FACT, Kieron Sharp said: “Whether it’s a re-stream on social media, a piracy site, or using a device, box or stick connected to your TV, avoiding the official provider to access the fight is illegal.
“FACT is leading the way in combatting digital piracy and working with PIPCU and industry to crackdown on illegal streaming and to hold those behind them accountable for their actions.
“It is getting harder and harder to watch live sport illegally and so boxing fans should be aware that if they were planning to watch the fight this way they are breaking the law.”
Detective Inspector Nick Court of the City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit added: “The Anthony Joshua fight is just one in numerous high profile sporting events each year, but don’t let your eagerness to tune in make you commit a crime.
“By using illegal streaming sites you can open yourself up to several risks; some set-top boxes do not go through rigorous electrical testing and are therefore at risk of catching fire or giving electric shocks.
“By using legitimate providers these risks can easily be avoided. Watch it live, watch it legally.”
According to research commissioned by the Intellectual Property Office, some 7 million Britons are now guilty of online piracy – with 13 per cent of those using a modified set-top box to stream copyrighted material.
That’s a significant step-up from the five million people in the UK that use pirated TV streaming services via so-called Kodi Boxes, Amazon Fire TV Chipped Sticks, and illegal streaming apps, according to YouGov data from earlier this year.
Back in May, the Digital Economy Act received royal assent – and increased the maximum jail sentence for copyright infringement in the UK from two to three years.
Director of Copyright and Enforcement at the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), Ros Lynch, said: “We advise boxing fans who are planning on watching the fight to make sure they have the right licenses and access content legally to avoid any problems.
“It’s great to see that FACT and PIPCU are working together to raise awareness of the importance of accessing content legally.”
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