Traffic from pirate sites rose again in 2021

The landscape of hacking is still as broad as it is complex, and despite the growing availability of legal options, every day millions of people around the world use pirate websites and services that, like torrent, is a completely legal technology, but that is commonly used to distribute content without copyright. This is just one example, because today’s piracy is much broader than just P2P networks, downloads, or the Internet.

A new report published by cybersecurity firm Akamai and hack tracking team MUSO attempts to put a number on the phenomenon. And the interesting thing, being interested companies, is that they don’t see it (only) as «a threat to Hollywood and the global economy» as others say, but as an opportunity to convert pirates into paying customers. It has been known for a long time that they are a type of user that massively consumes content without copyright, but that also goes through the box.

Piracy: “State of the Internet”

Akamai says that the number of global visits to pirate sites increased significantly last year compared to 2020, although it is very far from those registered in 2016-2017. During the first nine months of 2021, they recorded 132 billion visits to pirate sites. This includes websites that are commonly dedicated to TV shows, movies, music, software, games, and other copyright infringers.

132 billion is a 16% increase compared to the same period of the previous year. By categories of content, television and video related piracy is pervasive. The report shows that there were more than 67 billion visits in that group, about 50% of all traffic from pirate sites. Movies (11%), music (8%) and software (7%) are other standouts.

By region, there are quite a few differences. The United States remains the world leader in piracy with more than 13 billion visits, followed by Russia, India, China and Brazil at a surprisingly large distance from other reports. Everything is relative though, and the dominance of these countries can be explained in part by their huge internet populations, which are among the largest in the world.

Akamai also shares some content-related data. According to streaming and torrent data, “Godzilla vs. Kong”, “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” and “Black Widow” were the most pirated movies, while in series “Loki”, “Wandavision” and “Rick and Morty” were the most pirated titles and are the ones that appear in all ranking.

Piracy: a puzzle

It should be noted that Internet piracy has decreased considerably in recent years as subscription services that deliver content on demand have been rolled out. One of the problems is that they have increased so much that the budget is not enough to pay for all of them, even if you like some of their content. Another issue cited by Akamai is the “lack of access and availability” to certain content by region.

Thus, the report states that not all pirates refuse to pay. Many of them already have paid subscription services, but use unauthorized sites to supplement their entertainment consumption. «Akamai researchers found that while a show or movie is being pirated, those seeking this content pay to access other streaming services.«.

Conclude by explaining that the data in this report only applies to logs of access to pirate websites. This means that a large and growing part of the piracy ecosystem, including set-to-boxes dedicated to piracy and illegal IPTV offers, are not included.

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