At the beginning of September, the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) published its IP Crime and Enforcement Report 2016/17, which reveals the true scale of online pirating and copyright infringement in the UK.

According to the report, approximately 15 per cent of the UK’s 6.7 million internet users illegally watched or downloaded at least one item of copyrighted content in the three months to March 2017.

It revealed that so-called ‘fully loaded’ Kodi set top boxes – which can be pre-programmed to provide unlawful access to copyrighted content – were growing increasingly common.

In fact, the report found that 19 per cent of UK adults now stream copyrighted material using Kodi or similar devices.

The IPO said that policing “technological misuses” would pose a significant problem going forward, as it would require increased investment and co-operation in order to more effectively tackle the issue.

Its report read: “Illicit streaming devices, which were highlighted as an emerging threat in last year’s IP Crime Report, have become mainstream products in some parts of the UK, and the subsequent threat to those working to create, produce, distribute and sell films and TV programmes is enormous.”

UK intellectual property organisation FACT added that approximately 70 per cent of its current active or ongoing cases involved so-called “illicit streaming devices.”

The popularity of streaming websites and devices is difficult to counter, especially where their wide presence leads to the normalisation of illegal streaming in the eyes of the public. The best protection for producers, distributors and brands lies in effective registration and monitoring of their intellectual property, which enables them to act quickly against infringements.