The topic of video piracy has been a hot topic in the world of online streaming as of late - particularly when it comes to sports entertainment. A couple of new developments seem to put the "nail in the coffin" to pirated live streams in the UK.
Where is piracy spread mostly? Before we delve into sports, let's take a look at fantasy adventure epic Game of Thrones. Despite the incredible amount of legal ways it's possible to view the show, a recent report revealed around 10 million U.S. viewers planned to stream Game of Thrones using illegal means - making this the world’s most pirated TV programme.
In the UK, the act of video piracy has seeped into the bones of the Premier League - perhaps the world's most iconic football competition.
In recent times, football fans have been modifying Kodi boxes with third party resources to help them source a host of pirated Premier League matches. In fact, a recent poll of 1,000 people for BBC 5 live Daily discovered almost half of fans say they have streamed a game online through an unofficial provider - and what's more, just over a third do this at least once a month.
To paint a clearer picture regarding the battle against sports piracy, this graph shows the percentage of people accessing pirated copy from October 2012 to March 2017 (see chart on the right).
While since 2013, piracy has dropped from a high of 30% to 25% of internet users, piracy is still rife in the sporting world, largely facilitated by the leveraging of the Kodi box.
But some recent developments are promising to shake up the context.
In response to this aggressive level of piracy, the Premier League has won a landmark High Court ruling to force Internet service providers to prevent people from watching Premier League matches for the 2017-18 season. It’s cracking down on piracy - and in a big way.
So, it seems that a new legislation is perhaps the best way to really crack down on this issue. By gaining the power to allow internet providers to block illegal streams, sports broadcasters stand to gain control once again. And it looks like it could happen on a mass scale - the IPO is in the process of running a consultation into internet TV boxes to see whether stricter laws are needed.
It seems that when it comes to sports and piracy, no prisoners will be taken and as the relationship between sports and web-based broadcasting continues to flourish, the crackdown on pirates will be swifter and harsher than ever before.
Now the Premier League has made its intentions known, other entities will follow suit.