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Never has there been so much content as today. From movies and TV series to news channels, live events, and shows, there’s always something new being introduced in the market. However, between work, school, and family responsibilities, we tend to miss the programs we like.
Seeing how much content is out there, viewers are looking for personalized services that accommodate their schedules.
In comes IPTV services. It ensures you can stream content on-demand, but as much as cord cutters have embraced it because of the freedom and choices it offers, there have also been doubts about the legality of IPTV.
IPTV users feel that having access to thousands of movies and many TV channels at any time feels too good to be true. So, many are left with the question, is IPTV legal? Relax as we put your mind at ease by explaining what legal IPTV services really are.
- What Is IPTV Streaming?
- How Does IPTV Work?
- Is IPTV Legal
- IPTV Laws
- Are You Aware of Whether You Are Using Legal IPTV Services?
- Why You Should Avoid Illegal IPTV
- Final Thoughts
What Is IPTV Streaming?
IPTV or Internet Protocol Television involves consumers receiving TV programs over the Internet rather than satellite dishes, antennas, or fiber-optic cables. In short, IPTV means streaming video content over the Internet. Although it has some similarities with OTT (over-the-top) platforms like Netflix, it should not be confused with it.
OTT content is delivered over the same open and unmanaged network, while IPTV uses a private network. And unlike IPTV, in OTT, internet service providers don’t have control over anything, whether it’s video delivery or viewing and content copyrights.
Their only job is to supply the infrastructure needed for OTTs to stream content to consumer devices.
Unlike satellite or cable, where content is delivered in realtime, IPTV content allows users to access the content at whatever time they choose on streaming devices, as long as they have an Internet connection.
What has made IPTV popular is that users can enjoy content on-demand and still have the option of watching live events just like traditional or live TV.
How Does IPTV Work?
Unlike traditional TV content, where you’re streaming programs in realtime, IPTV stores content on servers, allowing users to request anything they want at whatever time.
Once you choose what you want to watch, the content is immediately converted into a digital format and delivered through the Internet protocol.
For all this to be possible, your TV should be able to receive signals via internet protocol. Unfortunately, not all TVs have this capability, and if yours is one of them, I suggest getting an IPTV box to enjoy these services.
Is IPTV Legal
Now that you know what IPTV is and how it works, back to our original question on whether your IPTV service is legal.
Yes, it is. This is the simplest answer and somewhat less complex. The complex answer is that while IPTV is legal, not all IPTV services are legal. For instance, service providers like Hulu follow the stated copyright laws when streaming content.
But if an IPTV provider doesn’t have the correct licenses to provide content, then this is considered illegal.
For every TV show and video on demand they provide, the IPTV provider has to observe intellectual property laws and thus get a license. Usually, IPTV services have a certain cost that comes in the form of a subscription.
In 1998, the US legislated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to prevent services like IPTV from offering content on the internet without a valid license. It was decided that repercussions for breaking this law should include fines and penalties.
But while an IPTV provider may have been punished for not having a license, there was a loophole in that those who streamed copyrighted material were not punished.
Fortunately, this changed when the Protecting Lawful Streaming Act of 2020 was introduced. The law allowed the US justice department to prosecute anyone found streaming content illegally.
The Copyright Act also protects works like films, art, and music.
However, it has since been established that the Protecting Lawful Streaming Act is only intended to prosecute the people behind the illegal streamlining services instead of the person using these services to get content.
Are You Aware of Whether You Are Using Legal IPTV Services?
It’s common to be worried about whether your streaming service is legal or not, especially if you’re not using popular sites like Prime Video, Netflix, and Hulu. The challenge comes with identifying which services are legal.
Here are some warning signs for whether your IPTV service provider is illegal. While they don’t necessarily mean you should be alarmed, it’s wise to investigate further.
Providers of illegal IPTV services don’t pay for licensing or production, and hence they tend to be cheap or even free.
While we all agree that cryptocurrencies have become a popular payment method for many genuine services, illegal IPTV providers often prefer this mode of payment. That’s because it’s hard to trace.
Poor Quality Picture and Sound
Another sign that you’re streaming through an illegal IPTV service provider is the low-quality audio and video you get. That’s because the content has been obtained illegally.
Ads, Popups, and Misleading Buttons
If you’ve run into various popups every time you try to watch content, there’s a possibility you aren’t using a legitimate site. Illegal IPTVs also have fake buttons that lead to external links rather than doing the action you want them to.
Suggest You Use a VPN
Suppose a site suggests you use a VPN to access content from other regions, even those that are often limited by geographical locations. In that case, there’s a possibility you’re using illegal IPTV.
Apps Aren’t Available in the Usual App Stores
Legal IPTV service providers also have streaming applications in several official app stores to ensure users can easily access content from different devices.
Why You Should Avoid Illegal IPTV
It’s easy for consumers to solely blame illegal IPTV service providers as they’re the ones breaking the law. But you may unknowingly be placing yourself at risk in various ways as well.
Besides the moral obligation, here are a few other reasons you should avoid illegal IPTV service providers:
- You risk being scammed: Nothing is stopping fraudulent providers from disappearing once they receive payment from you. Plus, you aren’t even sure who you are providing your credit card details, which puts your finances at risk. Fraudulent providers can also harvest your information and sell it to hackers, exposing you to potential scams. Work with a legal IPTV provider under the law to protect yourself from being scammed.
- You risk viruses and malware on your devices: Illegitimate sites have viruses that can infect your devices. In an age where we store our private data on our devices, you risk losing it. Malware often gets into your device through fake play buttons, download links, and popup ads.
- Your ISP can either downgrade or disable your Internet: If you’re caught streaming illegal content, you risk some unpleasant consequences as they may opt to disable or downgrade your Internet, leaving you highly inconvenienced.
- Poor user experience: We can all agree that the user experience you get from illegal IPTV services can be poorer compared to legal ones. You may get frustrated by the constant pop ads for the poor video and sound quality, rather than simply enjoying your TV service. Stick to legal sites that provide a great user experience.
There are many IPTV services on the market today, but not all of them are legal and reliable. Promises of cheap or free content should not lure you in as such sites are unlicensed and illegal. Using them only exposes you to the risk of compromising your data or getting malware on your devices.
If you opt to use an illegal site, that is at your own risk. But for your safety and peace of mind, I would highly discourage taking this path.
The best route is to use a legitimate IPTV provider. Even though they may be costly, the price is fair, and you get to enjoy the quality and on-demand content without fear of being hacked or getting viruses on your devices.