Global copyright piracy on the rise

Douglas Crawford

Douglas Crawford

September 18, 2013

Domain management firm NetNames has released an in depth report called ‘Sizing the piracy universe’, that shows just how large the problem facing the copyright enforcement advocates really is. Drawing data from a number of sources, NetNames believes the report ‘to be the first attempt to produce an accurate overall estimate for the online piracy universe’.

Studying North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific, the 3 key regions that make up the majority of the internet world (82.6% of all internet users and 95.1% of all bandwidth used), in 2013 a staggering 25.9% of all internet bandwidth was used for traffic of an ‘infringing’ nature, with 327 million people explicitly looking for explicit content in January this year (which by extrapolation means that 432 unique internet users worldwide looked for pirated content). This means that over a quarter of all internet traffic is piracy related!

It is also clear that despite the many attempts by copyright enforcement bodies such as the MIAA to crack down on such usage, absolute infringing bandwidth as gone up 159.3% between 2010 and 2012, which represents an increase of almost 10% of internet users explicitly seeking pirated material.

global piracy  1NetNames concludes from these figures that internet use is growing rapidly, and that piracy is keeping pace with this growth, calling its practice ‘tenacious and persistent’.

Piracy Ecosystems

The report also looking into the methods used by copyright infringers (the ‘piracy ecosystem’), and found that BitTorrent was by far the most popular, followed by video streaming, which usually involves a two stage process, where websites link to video hosting sites known as  video streaming cyberlockers).

Although direct cyberlockers come third, the report notes that the popularity of this method took a hit due to the seizure of MegaUpload in January 2012 and the subsequent closure of other popular similar services. Also interesting to note is that ‘almost every piracy-focused site… is owned and run for profit’.

global piracy 2


Unfortunately in our view, the repot draws the wrong conclusions from this data, and toes the hackneyed line pedaled by the entertainment industry that enforcement and coercion are the answer to piracy, rather than making media readily available at a fair price.

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