Google appears to still be blissfully oblivious to its intentional or unintentional (but readily discernible) support for piracy websites. Google supports pirates in a variety of ways, and I will explore a few of them here.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has already been critical of Google’s inaction on piracy for years. The first major problem is the prominent visibility of piracy URLs in Google’s search results. Following the classic logic that the best place to hide a body is surely on the second page of search results, the hope of the filmmakers has been that rank and file consumers, at least, might refrain from using rights-infringing sites when they no longer feature in the first few hits on search.
Pure self-interest could be expected to lead Google to the same conclusion: Google sells movies itself in its Google Play store. With every additional illegal option displayed prominently in search results, Google’s own chances of making a sale to an interested consumer recede. Against this background, let’s now see what happens when we run a search on Google for the movie “Black Panther.”
Volker Rieck is managing director of the content protection service provider FDS File Defense Service, which works for numerous rights owners. The company also prepares studies on piracy and supports law enforcement companies with the data it collects.
Volker Rieck blogs regularly on Webschauder and from time to time on the US blog The Trichordist on various aspects of unregulated content distribution. His articles also appear on Tarnkappe.info.
Every year in January, the office of the United States Trade Representive (USTR) publishes a list of the worst offenders on the Internet for the past year. This concerns both haptic goods, i. e. counterfeits, replicas, etc. and infringements of intellectual property rights in the form of the non-regulated distribution of films, books, music, software, apps, etc.
The list includes names like the Chinese e-commerce giants Alibaba and Taobao, but also websites like Movie4k, Libgen, The Pirate Bay or Openload.
Contributors to the list include associations such as the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) on behalf of the US film industry or the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on behalf of the US music industry.
The role of the RIPE NCC Internet self-administration system will be highlighted there:
According to a German study, 22.3% of all ads on piracy sites in July 2016 were ads for gambling. Gambling ads are normally pop-ups or pop-unders and are more expensive than “normal” ads. So, they account for much more than a quarter of the ad income for piracy sites.
After publishing this study in September 2016, the Gambling companies and their German association were informed of the gambling companies support to piracy sites.
A recent study checked if something had changed between October and December 2016. This research used a “Pro”-registration account on Similiarweb.com, which shows you the Top 5 of advertising branches, advertising companies and ad networks on most internet sites for free. Gambling industry still supporting piracy weiterlesen
A recent study of the advertising revenue made by piracy sites shows that the most visited websites for illegal distribution of content in Germany gen-erate an income of 33 million Euros per year through visits by German users.
Most of the advertisements are placed by the Internet gambling industry (22.3 percent), mostly with licenses from Germany (Schleswig-Holstein), Gibraltar or Malta. They are followed by German and international browser game providers (12.1 percent). Advertising of branded companies is rare. Study: Ads are financing piracy weiterlesen
Would you cycle on a busy motorway? Probably not – and in most jurisdictions, you would promptly be arrested if you did. What does this have to do with the Internet? Quite a lot, actually. Road traffic rules and regulations are a prime example of rules which have adapted to changed circumstances over time.
“Euro Perspective on Outdated DMCA: Cycling on the Autobahn”
Eco, the largest Internet industry association in Europe, stands for free Internet and liability exemptions for Internet providers. Why?
All you have to do is take a look into their membership list and you will find a great deal of acquaintances who distribute pirated movies to customers in Germany and other markets:
- Cloudflare (also called crimeflare), USA: Content delivery network which is used by 9 out of the top 10 portals for file-hosters.
- Cyando, Switzerland: Owner of the most important filehoster Uploaded. According to the regional Court of Munich, Uploaded is aiding and abetting copyright infringers.
- Dancom, Belize: Content delivery network / data center for the most important portal for videohosting (bs.to).
- OVH, France: Data center for 3 of the 10 most important filehosters (zippyshare.com, filer.net and megacache.net).
- Voxility, Romania: Data center for the most important videohoster streamcloud.eu.
- M247, UK: Data center for movie-blog.org, a top 5 filehoster portal and thevideo.me a top 10 videohoster and other videohosters such as openload.co, promptfile.com and vidbull.com.
- Leaseweb, Netherland: Data center for the top 5 videohoster shared.sx.
Additionally there are other members, who offer dataspace and Internet connection for hosters with thousands of copyright infringing movies, e.g.:
- Akami with cyberlocker.ch and ultramegabit.com.
- Hetzner with fileshark.pl.
- Link11 with easybytez.com.
- Nforce with uploadable.ch and fileparadox.in.
- Plusserver with uploadbaz.com.
- Serverius with OzOfiles.com.
The Financial Times has reported that the Dutch film producers have filed a claim for damages from the government because it tolerated illegal downloads until a verdict of the ECJ forbade this.
A study estimated a loss of € 78 million in a market that has a total volume of € 500 million.
A MPA employee published an overview on blocking orders in regard to copyright in Europe.
According to this the following countries have blocking orders:
1 – Italy (238 blocked sites)
2 – United Kingdom (135)
3 – Denmark (41)
4 – Spain (24)
5 – France (18)
6 – Portugal (15)
7 – Belgium (13)
8 – Norway (7)
9 – Austria (6)
10 – Ireland (2)
10 – Greece (2)
10 – Iceland (2)
11 – Finland (1)
In many countries “The Pirate Bay“ has been blocked. In Sweden the domain registration of thepiratebay.se could be withdrawn. So “The Pirate Bay” has lost many visits. Starting with 436 million visits in July 2014 they lost 35% of all visits until March 2015, which had 285.5 million visits.
Therefore “The Pirate Bay” is trying to distribute their customers across several alternative domains (e.g. thepiratebay.la).
According to data gathered from Similiar Web, only 9 of 46 domains are important (more than a million visits); nine domains had less than 500 visits per month.
|The Pirate Bay visits (data from similiarweb.com)
Proxies can be used to circumvent blocking measures. There are a many on Google, but we tested 267 and found data only for 161 proxies.
|Visits on The Pirate Bay-Proxys (similarweb)
|not enough data
Only 26 proxies had more than 100,000 visits in July and two with more than a million. Visits to proxies rose by 24% between March and July 2015 with 28,445,000 visits.
So the traffic to “The Pirate Bay” is still concentrated on a few sites.
The MPA (Motion Picture Association of America) has recommended safety measures to avoid the illegal distribution of movies. Amazon published these measures and Torrentfreak reports:
Spamhaus reports on German and Austrian Internet registries helping cybercriminals. Countless cybercrime pages are registered by Denic and Nic.at. Complaints are useless because both organizations say they are not liable. They only delete domain names by court order or if they violate their terms and conditions.
Unlike Austria and Germany, Switzerland and Russia have implemented appropriate mechanisms in their regulation or registrar agreements.
Most of the malicious domain names are registered through a German-based registrar called Key-Systems. Some of the reported domain names have been suspended, but now the registrar seems to be recommending that its customers move the domain name to a different registrar: “What we are now seeing within ccTLD .at is ridiculous: Several registrars, mostly German-based, are moving malicious domain names around between each other. Once you report a malicious domain name to one of these registrars, they will just transfer it to a different registrar.”
The German Supreme Court hears a landmark case concerning the blocking of websites which violate copyrights; the proclamation of the verdict will be on November 26th.
BGH I ZR 3/14 (Liability of access providers for copyright infringement of third parties)