Despite pre-bout warnings from two UK IP protection bodies of the risks associated with illegal streaming ahead of the March 31st fight between Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker, digital platform security specialist Irdeto has identified 339 streams that illegally redistributed the fight. Many of these lower quality, illegal streams put consumers at risk of a poor viewing experience and missing key moments during the fight as they are detected, taken down or drop out.
According to Irdeto, as with previous world title boxing matches, more can still be done to stop pirates illegally distributing live sporting events. Streaming capabilities on social media were again found to have been a major vehicle for illegal streams, with 207 pirate streams detected using multiple social media channels, including Facebook, YouTube, Periscope and Twitch, reaching approximately 225,804 viewers.
Pirates also took advantage of illicit streaming plugins for Kodi, the popular media player, with 71 streams identified on this platform. This new data from Irdeto demonstrates that the tools are available for content owners and rights holders to track and combat harmful digital piracy, particularly around live sporting events.
“High-profile live sporting events like this are major targets for criminals looking to profit from illegal streams,” said Rory O’Connor, Senior Vice President of Cybersecurity Services, Irdeto. “Content owners and rights holders can combine state-of-the-art anti-piracy technology, proactive services and comprehensive cybercrime business intelligence services to shut down streams in real-time and protect their content investments. Consumers should be vigilant as well. By watching illegal streams, knowingly or unknowingly, they could miss crucial sporting moments and are exposing their devices, data and families to risks of cybercrime, inappropriate content and other threats. In addition, people who think about sharing events like this illegally should be aware that they could face charges or legal action as a result.”
The availability of illegal pirate streams on social media and other platforms remains a major challenge for content producers and rights holders. Pirates create professional-looking websites and services to fool users into thinking their illegal content offering is legitimate. These pirates are also using popular e-commerce sites to proactively advertise these services to consumers, despite these sites explicitly banning the sale of illegal streaming devices. Irdeto identified 180 advertisements for illicit streaming devices offering Joshua vs. Parker on e-commerce websites, including eBay and Gumtree in just one day in the week leading up to the fight.
In addition, Irdeto’s Global Consumer Piracy Survey of more than 25,000 adults across 30 countries, conducted in 2017 found that 52 per cent of consumers around the globe knowingly watch pirated video content.