When I purchased my Amazon Firestick for the first time, several friends insisted that I jailbreak it. I would be able to stream live TV and watch movies in theaters from my jailbroken Firestick.
It sounded incredible, but it was hard to believe. My research led me to this conclusion.
Although there have been no arrests for jailbreaking Firesticks, this doesn’t mean they are safe. Streaming copyright content is illegal. This could lead to five years imprisonment or a $250,000 fine. But, in the past law enforcement focused on distributors rather than end-users.
You are safe if you stream content and are not hosting it, or making money from it (“commercial stream”), then you’re safe.
What does it entail for a Firestick that they are jailbroken?
While the term jailbreak may sound strange, it’s a common tech practice. Removes software restrictions from a device.
This lets you install extensions, apps, and other software that aren’t permitted by the factory default.
Jailbreaking allows you to install extensions or apps that aren’t available in the Amazon App Store.
Sounds great, but is it legal?
Can you jailbreak a Firestick legally?
Jailbreaking Firesticks are legal. Technically, it is legal because it is covered under the Fair Use Act (DMCAstrong>).
Companies argued in years past that jailbreaking devices was illegal, as modifying an operating system “leads to the creation of an illicit derivative work.” “
It was argued that if people use our proprietary software, it will eventually result in a rival product.
These companies took this stand. They wanted to protect their garden wall.
They must consider exemptions from the DMCA every three years, unfortunately. In 2010, Congress declared that certain “jailbreaking” practices were exempted from the DMCA. There have been other jailbreaking exemptions since then, including streaming devices.
Just cause jailbreaking is legal does not make it safer.
Can you jailbreak a Firestick safely?
Amazon puts a lot of effort into ensuring that the Firestick is secure. Amazon also makes sure that only reliable and secure apps are available in their app store.
Once the Firestick has been jailbroken, the operating system becomes insecure.
Malware could be installed to steal personal information if you install apps not in Amazon’s ecosystem.
Apps that aren’t available in Amazon’s App Shop may not optimize for your device. This can lead to your Firestick freezing/crashing, and other serious stability problems.
Another risk is a lack of software updates when jailbreaking your Firestick.
Amazon regularly updates Firestick software, especially when security flaws or vulnerabilities are exposed.
If you jailbreak your Firestick, these updates will not be delivered to it.
Is streaming legal?
Streaming content is listening to or watching content that was not downloaded. The content is saved on a separate computer.
You can stream streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube TV legally if you pay.
If you stream illegal material, things can get complicated. Copyright laws apply to the content and you cannot give permission to its owner.
It is illegal to jailbreak a Firestick to copyright stream.
A Firestick jailbroken for streaming pirated movies to a local bar may be used to advertise the event. Law enforcement will likely investigate.
It is illegal to stream videos online, except for public performances.
Government agencies and media companies are more likely to pursue individuals who download large amounts of content for commercial gain.
2020 Protecting Lawful Streaming Act
The US government has passed a new law in 2020 to combat illegal streaming content piracy.
This law significantly increases the criminal penalties for illegally streaming copyrighted materials.
Illegally streaming for profit was a misdemeanor. Now, the DOJ can bring felony charges against illegal streaming service providers and users.
The message is clear: If you intend to illegally stream content, you must ensure that you don’t make a profit.
Firesticks can be jailbroken and put people in serious trouble
After hours of research, I was unable to find any example of a streamer from the United States getting in trouble with the law.
But, illegally subscribing to illegal content is different from using a jailbroken Firestick to stream illegal material.
Every US story about jailbroken Firesticks or streaming Firesticks is related back to people trying to make money.
- a> A Michigan resident was accused of illegally streaming sporting events over the Internet.
- 2019 Eight defendants were indicted for operating two of America’s most illegal streaming TV and movie services (“Jetflicks”), and “stream tall”.
- 2020, Four individuals were taken undercover by detectives for allegedly selling “jailbroken Amazon Fire TV Sticks”.
What’s interesting about this case is that the Sheriff stated publicly that any consumer found using one (a jailbroken Firestick),
This seems more like a scare tactic than a threat to me.
Is it likely that Sheriff will use his resources to knock on doors and hand out misdemeanors to Firestick jailbroken prisoners?
However, 99.9% of jailbroken Firesticks don’t want to make any money. They want to stream content from the comfort of their homes.
These people won’t get in trouble, if ever.
Connect to a jailbroken Firestick using a VPN
Firestick jailbreakers often set up a VPN. Virtual Private Network.
A virtual private network (VPN) hides your IP address so that search engines and websites can’t find it.
Piracy watchdogs can track the IP address of VPN users much more easily.
Use a VPN to connect to your jailbroken Firestick if you are streaming illegal content.
Jailbreaking a Firestick is legal.
Jailbreaking a Firestick to stream stolen content can quickly make it illegal. Violators could face up to five years imprisonment and fines of up to $250,000.
The good news is that no one has been arrested for jailbreaking a Firestick.
It seems that people only get in trouble when they use jailbroken Firesticks to stream content or make money.
It’s safe to stream content from your jailbroken Firestick at home.
I do not recommend jailbreaking your Firestick.
I recommend using a VPN to secure your IP address if you are not averse to streaming.