5 Reasons Why Using Illegal IPTV Streams Is a Bad Idea
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The high cost of live TV—both through cable and IPTV apps like Sling and PlayStation Vue—has driven an increasing number of people towards illegal streaming apps, add-ons, and services.

We can see the appeal. If you know where to look, you can find everything from live sport to the latest Hollywood blockbusters on-demand.

But what are the dangers of using these illegal services? Unfortunately, the risks are numerous. Let’s take a closer look.

1. Financial Loss

iptv reddit complaint

Several sites and apps exist which allow you to access illegal content for free. However, there’s also a large market for paid illegal services.

Perhaps most notable is the IPTV sector. A quick search on Reddit reveals dozens of illegal IPTV providers. Each of these provides access to thousands of live TV channels from all over the globe.

Typically, prices for such services are between about $5 and $15 per month, with extra costs for those who want to watch on multiple devices at the same time. And, just like many legal services, several providers offer impressive discounts if you sign up for a multi-month package.

Signing up for long periods puts you at risk of financial loss. Because of their illegality, the providers are not regulated, meaning they could stop offering their product and vanish on a whim. Again, Reddit provides countless examples of this happening.

Obviously, there’s also a significant risk that authorities could pursue a provider through the courts, which again means the service potentially ceasing without warning, thus leaving you out of pocket.

2. Viruses and Malware

iptv ad example

We think most of our readers—intentionally or otherwise—have probably stumbled onto a site offering illegal free live TV at some point in their lives.

If you have been on such a site, you’ll know that developers load the sites with very aggressive ads. Remember, these aren’t ads from Google Ads or another similarly reputable ad network. Many of the ads are providing links to some form of malware.

Worse still, the ads are deliberately highly deceiving. Downloadable items are disguised as Play buttons and close window icons, windows move around the page, and ads are layered on top of each other. And if you turn on an ad blocker the sites will not let you access the content.

Often, you need to close several ads before you can get close to watching a video. One wrong click, and you could inadvertently let malware access your device.

The problem isn’t only limited to websites. Countless services have followed in PopcornTime’s footsteps, offering on-the-fly streaming of P2P content. Many such services have apps for platforms like Android TV and Fire TV. Because they’re not on official stores, the apps aren’t going through any rigorous security checks.

Use them at your own risk.

3. Illegal IPTV Streams Are Unreliable

Poor reliability is a huge issue across the illegal streaming industry.

Illegal paid IPTV services What Is IPTV and Is It Legal? What Is IPTV and Is It Legal? What is IPTV? And, more importantly, is IPTV legal? As ever with legal questions, the answer is somewhat nuanced. Read More frequently suffer from buffering, while many of the provider’s advertised channels often do not work. Remember—this is a service you’re paying money for. If the quality isn’t there, what’s the point?

Aside from the financial aspect, there are practical issues. If you want to watch a big sports game, you can never be sure that it’s going to work. If the service goes down at the last minute (as frequently happens due to an influx of would-be viewers), you could find yourself missing the action.

The problem is even worse on sites that offer illegal TV streams. Rights holders aggressively pursue such domains, meaning streams can vanish mid-program.

4. Watching Illegal Streams Leads to Prosecution

While it’s true that it is often the uploaders—i.e., the source providers—who TV networks pursue most aggressively, there have been cases in both the U.S. and Europe of end-users being dragged into the courts.

It’s a common misconception that watching illegal streams of movies or live TV is permissible from a legal perspective.

The argument claims that you’re not downloading any data, and thus are not making a copy. In practice, streaming video stores temporary data in a cache on your device, providing a route for authorities to launch a prosecution. Small odds? Perhaps. But definitely possible.

In Europe, the situation is more clear-cut. An April 2017 decision by the EU Court of Justice ruled that streaming copyrighted content without the correct permissions was breaking the law.

Still not convinced? Here’s what Kieron Sharp, chief executive of the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), said to The Independent newspaper in June 2017:

“We’re looking at the people who are providing the apps and add-ons, the developers. And then we’ll also be looking at […] the end user. The reason for end users to come into this is that they are committing criminal offenses.”

And even if you can make a tenuous argument that the transitory period of data during stream does not constitute “making a copy,” remember that if you’re using Kodi add-ons such as Exodus, you’re working with software that’s been defined as illegal under the “Inducement Rule.”

The Inducement Rule is a law created by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2005 which says a company or website can be held accountable for distributing unlicensed content if it encourages a user to infringe a copyright.”

If caught using such add-ons, it’s unlikely that you’d be able to defend yourself under the “safe harbor” guidance in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

5. ISP Issues

Using illegal streaming services could result in your ISP disabling your internet connection.

The issue is most commonly seen with regards to downloading illegal torrents, though it can also happen with unlawful streaming services.

The first you hear of it is when you receive an email or a letter from your ISP, explaining the infringement. You’re not going to get booted off after the first warning, but repeat infractions could lead to a disabled connection or speed throttling.

Of course, one way to make sure your ISP doesn’t know what you’re streaming online is to use a high-quality paid VPN service. Here at MakeUseOf, we recommend using either CyberGhostor ExpressVPN.

Use Legal IPTV Instead

Instead of taking on the risks we’ve outlined, why not use a legal service instead?

There are lots of apps, services, and add-ons that provide legitimate free access to live sports, TV shows, and movies.

If you would like to learn more, check out our article on the best legal IPTV providers The Best Legal IPTV Service Providers in 2019 The Best Legal IPTV Service Providers in 2019 Here are the best legal IPTV services that won't get you in trouble with the law. Read More and our list of apps to watch free movies online The 9 Best Free Movie Apps to Watch Movies Online The 9 Best Free Movie Apps to Watch Movies Online Here are the best free movie apps that will let you watch and download movies. All legal and free! Read More .

Image Credit: londondeposit/Depositphotos

Explore more about: IPTV, Legal Issues, Media Streaming, Scams.

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  1. Jagraman Singh
    April 23, 2019 at 1:57 pm

    Using laptops internet watching global programs, then watching internet channels on TV screens with iptv. There must be nothing illegal about iptv because laptop and TV screen same internet.

  2. Philip
    April 23, 2019 at 11:32 am

    I have an illegal IPTV service to watch the football matches that are not broadcast on any of the legally available services in my country. I also subscribe to Virgin, Netflix and Amazon prime video. If anybody was showing my team's matches I would pay to watch them. They don't so I use IPTV. Nobody is losing any money because of me because they don't actually provide what I'm paying for.

  3. Dave
    April 22, 2019 at 10:55 pm

    Completely uninformed article, I’ve been using paid illegal IPTV services for 3 years now and only had issues when the premier league blocks started, at which point I started using a VPN. Get a good service and it’s completely reliable and even if it switched off and went cold on me tomorrow, I’d still have saved thousands. No chance of viruses or prosecution.

  4. Nancy Biddle
    April 22, 2019 at 5:50 pm

    That is all and good if what you want to watch are all the mainstream channels. I agree, for those, pay the legal providers. No sense at all in cheating them. However, each of these legal providers charge through the nose for International other language channels. I subscribbed to Bell Fibe, had to add on International packages for $30, and the variety really was very small. All those seeking South Asian, Middle Eastern, and African content are obliged to go the so-called "illegal" route. IPTV through the Mag 250 box provides 1000's of channel options for $10-15 a month.

  5. Mark
    April 22, 2019 at 5:26 pm

    Just another apologist for the cable companies and for the “legal” IPTV services that were mentioned.
    How about telling the cable companies to look in the mirror.
    No one is trying to live for free. Good know you have no problem paying your $400/month cable bill.

  6. The IPTV Guy
    April 22, 2019 at 4:38 pm

    This article is misleading

    Get a good provider do your homework and all will be well, Do not purchase more then you are comfortable with but shit even a yeas 150.00 is less then a months cable

    Buffering? 99% of the time its the end users equipment

  7. Moonshot
    April 22, 2019 at 4:17 pm

    Why not get legal services? Because they charge and arm and a leg !!!! Big name cable providers are raping and pillaging the common folk while CEO's and shareholders rake up millions of dollars. There is no justice for the "regular people" that live paycheque to paycheque. Thank goodness for the Robin Hood's out there who are trying to give IPTV services are reasonable rates to the common folk, while these "illegal" providers are simply trying to make a little bit of money in the process. I have no problem with that!! Buyers just have to do their research extensively to find an honest and reputable provider because there are scammers out there.

  8. Tom
    April 22, 2019 at 3:39 pm

    Unreliable haha funny. Plain and simple idiot. You ever heard of something called a VPN dillweed

  9. Michel
    April 22, 2019 at 3:29 pm

    this article is spot on. Anyone disagreeing with it likely pirates content and thinks there's some reason they can justify illegal behavior. I'm always amazed when idiots are scandalized that they have to pay for something, and then freely steal it, and then accuse those they've stolen from of being greedy. You'll break the law to get what you want for nothing, but someone else is greedy? I also realize there's no talking to people, though. They will say, do or believe anything to justify their selfishness and greed.

    • Marius Munteanu
      April 23, 2019 at 5:06 am

      Well, while the legal side is a faaar shot, I had technical difficulties.
      I moved to a basement unit and I have no tv reception. I have tried IPTV to be able to see a free to air public news station (for movies & co I have Netflix, and I can't afford cable) . Now, why for me is illegal to watch a free tv channel, while for my neighbors upstairs is not?
      I do not condone piracy, but the cable is still unreasonably expensive.

    • JoeBoo
      April 23, 2019 at 5:29 pm

      You will say, do or believe anything to justify their feeling of superiority even though they are just sad little trolls.

      *Fixed it for you.

  10. TNMY
    April 22, 2019 at 1:56 pm

    The mafia of cable service providers is what drove people to sell those services. Good luck getting a judge to sign a warrant to go through your device because you "streamed TV".

  11. Peggy
    April 22, 2019 at 1:14 pm

    This entire article is false, lol. Who wrote this crap a five year old, because they certainly have the imagination of one..

    • Dan Price
      April 22, 2019 at 1:44 pm

      OK, I'll bite. Which part is false?

      • Mac
        April 22, 2019 at 9:00 pm

        Your making a claim that this method is illegal. But, my friend, it is private, without a third party involved so it is lawfull. If it was in the public jurisdiction it may be "illegal"; I would have to look up State or U.S. code. Your article is designed to place fear on those that have their accout placed in where they choose for what ever reason. Please stop being an agent working for the public. Instead join the People in the private. Stop honoring the god of the dead/commerce/public. The private jurisdiction is loosing a war because there are people tirelessly working against it and putting there energy into a democracy witch is only benificial for legal fiction /corporations /government and not for living men and women. Let's put an end to deceiving the People and not function as a Jesuit or a Jesuit disguised as a Zionist in high corporate positions. Disgusting mind set.

  12. Rocky Mudd
    April 22, 2019 at 1:12 pm

    My IPTV is more reliable than cable. And nothing buffers. There hasn't been a case where an end user has been prosecuted. So that's crap too.

    • Dan Price
      April 22, 2019 at 1:47 pm

      I didn't say anyone had been prosecuted. I said it's possible to be prosecuted, which is true. News reports today in the UK say FACT has tracked IPs of people who streamed Khan vs Crawford at the weekend and will look to issue fines.

      And to claim nothing ever buffers on IPTV is false. I suggest you check out the associated Reddit forums.

      • JoeBoo
        April 23, 2019 at 5:31 pm

        Fear Monger much? You have a great future career in political advertising.

  13. James
    April 22, 2019 at 1:09 pm

    If traditional pay-tv service would stop ripping people off people wouldn't look elsewhere.

  14. Kiz
    April 22, 2019 at 11:47 am

    More fear mongering. If you use your head everything will be safe. Tired of these articles.

  15. Asda
    April 22, 2019 at 11:45 am

    What an unreliable scaremongering article!

    • Peggy
      April 22, 2019 at 1:15 pm

      Agreed..

    • Dan Price
      April 22, 2019 at 1:47 pm

      Which part is unreliable?

      • Factoid
        April 22, 2019 at 3:51 pm

        Are you seriously asking which part is unreliable on an article that is uninformed and full of inaccuracies? Let's start with the virus part for one, do tell what kind of virus an IP TV box can catch please?

  16. H41L S4T4n
    April 22, 2019 at 11:44 am

    Dear cable TV puppet, you neglected to mention that cable TV and legal streams are also stealing thousands of dollars and providing unreliable service. I guess that's ok though because they pay your salary.