An anti-piracy organization called Rights Alliance has claimed that according to their research, there has been a 67% increase in Danish traffic to piracy-related websites in 2016 and 2017, according to an article that was published on TorrentFreak. TV and Movie consumption has always accounted for a large part of these numbers. But now newer trends (including stream ripping services) have started emerging. Rightsholders have been trying for over 20 years to curb the use of online piracy but even after the use of strong enforcement tools, such infringement is going on a big scale. The problem is one that is shared all over the world, but most rightsholder groups usually keep track of only their own region and see how the situation is progressing locally. Similarly, the Rights Alliance Report issued in 2017 portrays a pessimistic picture of Denmark. The new trends reveal that more and more people rely on piracy these days, although there are several legal streaming sites that are easily available to them.
Danish Traffic to Piracy Sites on the Rise
This industry study that uses data from MarkMonitor and SimilarWeb shows that in 2017, almost 2,000 pirate sites were visited by Danes over 596 million times, which is a 67% increase from the previous year’s 356 million visits. The research also notes that most of these visits were made using mobile compatible websites and services. This surge is sudden and surprising.
To say the least, the results of the report are disappointing and show a negative trend.
The Most Popular Piracy-based Streaming Site
Rights Alliance has highlighted one main unauthorized streaming website that particularly rose to prominence in 2017. It’s called 123movies (or GoMovies or GoStream). From 40 million visitors in 2016 to a high increase of 337% with 175 million visitors in 2017, this website garnered the most views from handheld devices. The website has since announced its termination but was still subjected to being blocked in many places.
Even though Denmark is known to have some of the best blocking systems, the usage of pirated content is still rampant from unblocked websites. Maria Fredenslund, Rights Alliance chief, has spoken out about how blocking only a few websites is just the tip of the iceberg and traffic to these infringing sites is just too overwhelming. Blocking is only 75% effective and an upscale effort is the need of the hour.
A vital element in the fight against piracy is the change in which visits to blocked websites are handled. So now when someone visits a blocked website, they are directed to a more legitimate platform. This is why ISPs and the Ministry of Culture in Denmark are working on a campaign to promote legal services, called ‘Share with Care 2’. This will place a search feature for legal services on the blocked websites.
Unfortunately, even though the government is taking measure to curb the problem, the use of unlicensed content is at an all-time high. In 2017, 500 popular movies and shows were downloaded over 15 million times using P2P networks such as BitTorrent, which is an increase from 11.9 million the previous year. This could only mean that users are getting through these applied measures as the number of restricted people is also changed by those who aren’t using ISP’s DNS services.
Moreover, people have started using anonymization techniques like VPNs that can bypass the blocking measures taken by the government. Research shows that around 3.5% to 5% Danish people use such services and the number is only on the rise. There is also some use of “closed” pirate communities in places. Below you can find a list of the most popular VPN service providers currently being used by Danish citizens:
Illegal Streaming Gaining Popularity
While torrent downloads and streaming online is continuing rampantly, new IPTV style services that can be used through apps are also getting traction from users. Such services saw a sharp increase of 84% between January and December in 2017 itself. Rights Alliance plans on combatting this problem by creating web blockades against websites that are hosting these software apps.
The sites providing live sports illegally saw an increase in their visits with over 2.95 million visits made from Danish IPs, which was a rise of 28% from the last year. Rights Alliance hopes to employ a ‘live’ blocking mechanism that is much like that used by the UK Premier League. They are trying to help find a solution for the problem in Denmark. Fredenslund explains by saying that their already dynamic blocking system sees a high increase in demand for illegal media so this seems like a natural step to take next.
A significant detail to notice in the report is the way people access these pirate websites. Most of the users now directly visit the website, with over 50% users land on these websites through search engines. This statistic shows that piracy websites have grown in popularity.
Paid Users Also Want Free stuff on the Side
The research has noted that people who already have access to accounts on legal and paid services (such as Spotify and Netflix) believe that they are entitled to take a little extra on the side from pirate websites for free. What they don’t realize is that while it’s still illegal, pirate websites can also have malware or ransomware that can be harmful to users’ systems.
Will users will wake up to the fact that piracy is dangerous? If the 67% increase in piracy is any indicator, users are not going to have that wakeup call any time soon. Rights Alliance claims that they are want to reduce online piracy but will require some help. Fredenslund asserts that the high criminal activities aren’t something they can handle alone. This is why the DK Government has recently put the IP task force. The task force was set as an experiment to check its effectiveness. Since the police don’t have the proper authority to block websites as of now, this will help them obtain the required authority to do so with massively infringing websites.
For now, we can only hope that users will learn that piracy might get them a few things for free, it can also harm them in the long run.