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What will really happen to you if you own an Amazon Fire Stick with illegal streaming

What will really happen to you if you own an Amazon Fire Stick with illegal streaming

Warnings have been issued about streaming premium content without paying for it via jailbroken Amazon Fire Sticks

This is what will happen if you own a jailbroken Amazon fire stick used for illegal streaming as reports, as intelligence officers say there's been an increase in reports about the devices being user for illegal streaming.

So, what exactly is an Amazon fire stick?

Well, the smart TV devices themselves, priced between £35 and £70 with a number of models available, are of course perfectly legal.

They allow you to access a number of streaming apps on your TV - not just Amazon Prime, but ITV Hub, All4, BBC iPlayer, Hayu, Netflix and Disney+.

You start to run into problems, however, if you hack or 'jailbreak' your Amazon fire stick to access additional apps.

'Jailbreaking' means bypassing the restrictions Amazon places on the device to install software and apps other than what the manufacturer intended.

In some cases, fire sticks can be hacked so they can illegally access premium content.

If you get caught with a jailbroken Fire Stick, a few things can happen.

A 'jailbroken' Amazon Fire Stick is one of the more popular devices people use to illegally watch TV.

One outcome? You could land yourself in court and with a criminal record.

The Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT UK) has teamed up with Crimestoppers to undertake more home visits to people carrying out illegal streaming.

If you find yourself on the receiving end of a home visit and don't 'cease and desist' in watching illegal content, expect prosecution to be a potential future step.

If found guilty, you could face 12 months in prison depending on the severity of your case.

This is because watching TV or streaming services without paying means you're violating the Fraud Act 2006.

Within the Act, Section 11, covers 'obtaining services dishonestly'.

That includes 'knowing the services are made available on the basis that payment has been, is being or will be made for or in respect of them or that they might be; and avoids or intends to avoid payment in full or in part'.

A spokesperson for FACT UK said: "Over the past year, we have seen a significant increase in the number of reports directly linked to Fire Sticks and illegal streaming.

People violate copyright law when they watch Netflix shows without paying subs.
Nicholas. T .Ansell / PA Wire.

"These reports are then investigated by our Intelligence Unit, and followed up with a rolling programme of action which includes issuing 'Cease and Desist' letters and conducting nationwide 'Knock and Talks'.

"These home visits, undertaken in conjunction with law enforcement, serve to inform individuals about their activities and the immediate need to cease and desist or face further action or prosecution.

"We also work in close collaboration with law enforcement to gather further evidence to actively pursue legal actions against these criminal entities."

But what happens if you own a jailbroken Amazon Fire Stick but don't use it to illegally stream content?

Thankfully, for people in these situations, there is no law against owning or possessing a device which has had its operating system bypassed.

As NordVPN says: "A jailbroken Fire Stick is absolutely legal because you are only sideloading apps of your choice. As the owner of the device, you can download any app that you like.

Watching Sky Sports without a subscription is illegal.
Rainer Puster / Getty.

"You can use your jailbroken Fire Stick to download third-party apps. By changing its settings to allow the installation of third-party apps — sideloading — you gain the freedom to install apps that are not available in the official Amazon app store."

Obviously it goes without saying that if you start using your jailbroken Fire Stick to then watch premium content for free, you are breaking the law and put yourself at risk of prosecution.

Featured Image Credit: ubahnverleih / Wikimedia Commons / Rainer Puster / Getty

Topics: Netflix, Disney, Crime, TV and Film, Football, Amazon, Amazon Prime