A warning from Interpol has been circulating across social media, that illegal streaming sites expose consumers to risks that they may not have considered. Starting by defining what piracy is, it explains the economic impact to consumers, such ID theft, exposure to fraud and malware, and the fact that piracy diverts hard-earned money into criminal enterprises.
While consumers know that they pay for subscriptions, Interpol identifies business models that consumers may not have considered, including fraudulent advertising, fraudulent donations to seemingly good causes, sale of consumers’ personal data, and depriving creative professionals of revenues to make a living. And kudos for honesty: Interpol is not shy to say that it deprives the industry and governmental tax authorities of revenue as well.
More than you bargained for
Interpol notes that pirates use virtual payment systems for money laundering purposes. And interestingly, it cautions consumers that they may lose services that they pay pirates for, when the law catches up with the pirates and shuts them down – with no way to get your money back. Interpol mentions that copyright violations can result in legal action, fines and prison but doesn’t dwell on it.
Digital Piracy: Accessing free or cheap content is not the bargain you think it is! Web page. Not dated. Interpol.
Why it matters
While the campaign does make reference to industry losses due to piracy, it highlights dangers that consumers may face personally. It’s a smart approach: a percentage of consumers complain that the media industry is wealthy and corrupt, and encourage piracy pro-actively, as a way to ‘stick it to the man.’ Interpol’s message largely avoids the issue.