FAQs

Answers to frequently asked questions regarding content piracy, password sharing, and safe streaming.


What is Content Piracy?

Content Piracy is the unauthorized duplication of copyrighted content that is then either offered to you for free or sold to you at a considerably lower price than you would expect to pay. Content “pirates” – yes, the name comes from the criminals who steal and loot at sea – offer TV shows, sports and movies without the permission of the owner of the content.

Is piracy legal?

Piracy is NOT legal. Content pirates circumvent legal copy protection and distribute material without the authorization or permission of the content owner. Those who upload these stolen copyrighted files risk civil or criminal prosecution.
Learn more in the article, “Content Piracy Is Not Legal.”

Is it safe to watch pirated content?

The short answer: NO. When you pay for a service that offers unauthorized or stolen content, you’re providing your financial information to a thief. Additionally, downloading, streaming or torrenting pirated content can put your devices and your personal information at risk from malware.
Learn more in the article, “Watching Pirated Content Is Not Safe.”

Why is password sharing considered risky?

  • Once you share your password with someone, you can’t control who or how many people they might share it with.
  • If you use the same password for multiple sites, those with whom you shared your password with will also have access to any of these sites.
  • If your password gets shared with the wrong people, they can steal personal information from your profile.
  • If someone you shared your password with gets hacked, you could get hacked too.
  • Learn more in the infographic, “Four Risks of Password Sharing.”

When is password sharing safe?

Sharing a password is a little like telling someone a secret and asking them not to repeat it. You’re never 100% sure it won’t get shared with someone else. The best advice is to protect your password like you would your social security number and only share it with extremely trusted sources, such as family members.

What is Malware?

‘Malware’ is a combination of two words – MALicious and softWARE. Viruses, ransomware and spyware are examples of malware, and the name covers any software written with intent to damage devices or steal data.
Learn more in the infographic, “Malware Wants to Know About You, So You Should Know About Malware.”

How do Pirates deliver content?

Pirates use one or more of these distribution methods:

  1. Subscription-based apps and web services, offered for free or at “too good to be true” prices
  2. Hardware-based devices which have been altered to enable access to stolen material
  3. Ad-supported services utilizing unknown or risky advertising sources
    Learn more in the article, “What Pirates Use to Lure Consumers.”

What is Torrenting?

Torrenting is a method of sharing content. Unlike streaming, which involves a single file provided to you from one server, a torrent breaks up one large file and splits it up into many smaller files. Torrenting can be a legal way to get larger files, but downloading unauthorized, stolen copyrighted material via torrenting is illegal. It’s not always obvious which content is legal to torrent and which isn’t. Additionally, accessing unauthorized content via torrenting may expose your device to malware.

What are the risks of viewing unauthorized, stolen, or pirated content?

Here are four big ones:

  1. Your home network or devices could get infested with malware.
  2. When the pirate service gets shut down, devices you’ve been paying for to access their content will become useless hardware.
  3. Pirate sites don’t usually offer parental controls, which legitimate services provide to protect children from inappropriate or harmful material.
  4. Torrenting sites can engage your computer in the active sharing of content, putting you at risk of not just viewing but also distributing pirated content.
    Learn more in the article, “Risks of Viewing Pirated Content.”

How can I avoid pirated content?

TV shows, sports programs or movies offered for free or for considerably less than what you would expect to pay are could be from unauthorized sources, such as pirate sites. The best way to avoid pirated content is to use common sense and research dubious streaming sites before visiting them.
Learn more in the article, “Look for These Red Flags to Avoid Pirate Sites.”

Access legitimate streaming services on our “Where to Watch” page.

Previous articleFast Fact: Anti-Malware Likely Won’t Protect You
Next articleIllegal Streaming PSA: More Time at Home Means More Opportunity for Cyber Criminals