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things to know before streaming

Is streaming illegal? – The Do’s And Donts Watching Videos Online

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How do you know when streaming becomes illegal?

Case in point: One of the biggest TV shows of our time that cannot be looked over is Game Of Thrones, Over 54 million people out of 80 million people watched the final season of Game of Thrones premiere within 24 hours of it being released to the public. Arguably the most polarising episode between fans hating it and loving it.

Back to the numbers, thats 43.2% of the population who watched GOT’s last episode on their devices by illegally downloading the streams.

But thats not all:

According to TorrentFreak’s chart of the top downloaded TV series of 2019, second to Game of Thrones was 8 Part Docudrama series Chernobyl, The Mandalorian, The Big Bang Theory, Vikings and the list goes on.

In this blog post, we’ll talk about streaming and the Do’s and Don’t and how it can be illegal.

It’s not about any of the vastly popular TV series. Unlicensed streaming statistics are hard to capture. Conservative estimates put people accessing and using these illegal streams are in the billions of hits a month.

With the latest Coronavirus threat, together with the strict lockdowns of nations of around the world have many more people joining streaming services, this number is probably going to exponentially increase as time goes on and more restrictions put in place. After all what are families meant to do when locked inside of their homes?

There are a huge number of people using legal streams, but users of illegal streams are more than double or even triple that.

What is Streaming?

Streaming is the process by which media is instantaneously received by and the end-user while it is being broadcast by the producer. Streams are an alternative to the downloading of files.

The process itself refers to the delivery method rather than the medium of delivery. Streaming does not require the end user to download a file to listen or watch it.

Before we proceed further:

**Caution**: This blog does not provide you with legal advice. You should speak to your lawyer for copyright advice or legal advice. We don’t endorse that you watch content that has been pirated. 

Support the creators providing the entertainment: Creators put a lot of time, effort, and money into creating content for others to watch. If you like their content, then just pay for it so that they receive money for their hard work. Support and encourage content creators and thanks to Netflix, Hulu that offer a variety of streaming services at a low-cost price per month, making consuming hours-upon-hours of on-demand TV shows and movies more than affordable.

Is streaming illegal

When is streaming legal?

If you have paid to obtain your content be it either from streaming services or other sources it is legal. Streaming content at home, that you have purchased, is legal irrespective of the source. Any paid content that you watch in your house with friends or family is also considered legal.

If you share your content by streaming, like a movie or song, then it is still legal provided you are not doing it publically. You can make a digital copy of a CD/DVD and it is not considered illegal, unless you share it with others

When is streaming illegal?

Downloading or streaming content that you have not purchased or paid for is illegal irrespective of the source. Any content that you don’t own and you share with your friends is also considered illegal.

The basic pretense is anything that you own and want to view with friends or neighbors, it is illegal. Any public streaming of content that you have purchased, but others have not is definitely illegal. Streaming content that you haven’t purchased is also illegal. It amounts to piracy.

Watching the latest movie or listening to the latest song without properly purchasing them is definitely illegal. When you purchase something, it is most definitely for yourself and not to be publicly displayed.

Torrent Streaming

A type of illegitimate streaming is when you use torrent software to stream content. As in torrents, streaming services depend on other people to propagate content. When you are viewing the content you also inadvertently broadcast it to other users to watch. This results in copyright law violations.

Nowadays, peer-to-peer (torrent) streaming are less popular or common. One of the main reasons is that you have to opt-in to allow it to work. The second reason is that most people would rather not do this. Moreover, the people who are into this type of thing need to have certain technical knowledge.

Most people will not unknowingly join torrent streaming in the first place!

Don’t Copy or Host Unauthorized/Illegal Content

Technically, you can watch unlicensed streams, but you should not host one in any condition. This is most likely going to attract the attention of the copyright bearer.

Most litigators are after the person who is uploading the content for others to consume. That’s the biggest fish in the sea. Many people worldwide stream illegally and this would result in endless lawsuits.

Streaming does not actually violate any copyright laws, but when make a copy it certainly does. A copyright holder’s approval or authorization is needed when you want to copy his or her content.

When you make a replicate content without the copyright holder’s permission, it is an apparent violation of copyright laws.

Only the content owner has the exclusivity to make copies of their work. This is the reason that it is called copyright (copy + right). In essence, if you privately make a copy of something that is not yours, even in privacy, you can or will be sued.

What are the consequences?

What is the mostly likely thing that will happen to you when you get caught? You will be punished, right! Well, this is the same thing that will happen if and when you get caught streaming or downloading content illegally.

With that out in the open, ordinary people are less likely to be litigated by the content creators. There isn’t any question as to the illegality of a person downloading unauthorized and pirated content.

In most of cases, people with the copyright go after the person who is uploading the copyrighted content and making it available.

You may have heard of the famous cases and now fallen companies like napster and Megaupload who both suffered massive legal blows that even dragged in their users who part take in the illegal downloading of copyrighted content.

There is clear evidence that the entertainment industry is going after individuals who were pirating content and even big companies facilitating the pirating. Many would think that the entertainment companies would be wasting their money going after the small fish, which is far from the truth and any individual person is protected from this.

In the beginning, media houses were going after individuals who were downloading songs or movies, but as the internet has matured, many are not in the foresight of the big entertainment companies taking legal action.

They have now been targeting people who are uploading the content for others to download. This is basically cutting the source of people who would want to stream or download the content.

This does not mean that it is okay to illegally download or stream movies and songs for your pleasure. When you engage in this act of illegally downloading or streaming, you are committing copyright infringement. It is pretty likely that individuals will be sued if they stream the content for others to consume or enjoy.

Free & Legal Streaming Options

Depending on what you like to what there are plenty of content options online that provide amazing entertainment for hours for no money.

  • Youtube – Whether you are looking for education, news, how-to’s and even independent TV shows there is a plethora of free content available on Youtube. Get pre-roll ads is the only cost to the viewing experience, however for balling on a budget, Youtube offers amazing hours of content.
  • TV Streaming – Many may not know that their favourite terrestrial TV programs and local news, and Sport programs stream their own live video on their websites or Youtube, Search you local tv channels and see if they offer that service.|

Going Forward

Technically, you would not be breaking any copyright laws if you were simply watching unlicensed streams. It does, however, become a criminal offense when you stream the content or download it. This does not mean that you should do it because you can.

Share your views and thoughts with us by commenting in the comments section below.

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