Everyone living in the UK has heard of Crimestoppers, that organisation that lets acts as a buffer between people and the police - letting us report crime with complete anonymity. Now it's getting involved in the whole dodgy set-top/Kodi box situation with a new campaign.
The campaign is a collaboration between Crimestoppers, the Intellectual Property Office, and 'unnamed industry partners', though TorrentFreak notes that the message is similar to the one pumped out by ACE, the Premier League, and FACT.
The first video uses a series of four videos trying to discourage people from using boxes loaded with pirate software, as well as dispelling any lingering myths that using them isn't against the law.It also notes that configuring boxes and selling them on is also a crime, but doesn't actually behave as if there's a difference between the two. Obviously there is, and simply watching a pirate stream in your own home as an individual is unlikely to get you in much, if any, trouble.
Selling Kodi boxes is a whole problem entirely, as is using pirate streams for commercial use (like broadcasting them in a pub). That's the point of the second video, funnily enough, portraying the sellers as a dark shadowy organised crime syndicate. So by watching free football, you're helping fund criminals. A bit over the top? Maybe. But the rights holders have been warning us that this is the case for a while, even if the people who were prosecuted in this country seemed to be acting alone.
The third video skips to the ever popular "won't someone please think of the children?!" noting that dodgy set top boxes don't have parental controls. While it's not too different from the internet (or YouTube for that matter), legal services generally have better support for parents who don't want their kids watching anything they shouldn't.
The final video focuses on the ever-popular fears of malware and identity theft. After all if criminals are involved, why would they stop at providing you illegal TV?
TorrentFreak points out that the campaign clearly has ties to the entertainment industry, though doesn't actually mention the affects on it. Instead it's focussing on how dodgy streaming will affect people on a personal level. Which makes sense, because people are far more likely to pay attention if they're ones suffering as a result of the streaming.
The site also points out that getting an organisation like Crimestoppers involved is a bit odd. With police budgets being slashed how are they going to find the time or resources to follow up on tips? There are a lot more serious crimes to be concerning themselves with, and while prosecuting people who facilitate piracy in this way shouldn't not happen it doesn't make sense to prioritise it over other things. Something definitely doesn't feel right.
The campaign (naturally) doesn't touch on the reasons why people pirate content, which is the real issue. While some people will continue to pirate regardless of the situation, for many it's an option because they don't have an affordable alternative. Solve that problem and people have less incentive to steal stuff. It won't happen overnight, and some research suggests it makes little impact, but it's better than demonising people for doing it. [TorrentFreak]