A new American study shows that the blocking of 19 major piracy sites had a positive effect in Great Britain. The use of legal offers (such as Netflix) increased by an average of 12 %. The impact on the physical distribution of DVD and Blu-rays was not examined.
Also the „IFPI Digital Music Report 2015“ points out that the blocking of the main piracy pages is successful: In the UK, the number of visits to BitTorrent sites was reduced by 45% from April 2012 to April 2014.
A study by the European Commission’s in-house science service states that the closure of the piracy site „kino.to“ had only short-term effects. The consumer switched to other illegal piracy portals.
This result is not groundbreaking; these facts had been known for a long time. But the authors conclusion that it is therefore not economically worthwhile to fight against piracy, is really embarrassing.
Such a conclusion, based on a single case, could damage their reputation as scientists. Furthermore, to evaluate the prosecution of crimes in an economic sense is questionable. No one would argue about stopping bank robbers been arrested, because there will always be another bank robber.
According to the news portal Tarnkappe, the new piracy portal hdfilme.org uses Google as a host for its streams. This is not the first case. Google’s German subsidiary was informed about hosting pirated streams in March 2014.
The illegal distribution of movie files via file- and videohosters is damaging the movie markets.
To calculate the damages we counted the files that were deleted in 2014: 3 million files were removed (notice and take-down procedures in the name of copyright owners).
With an average use of 200 downloads or streams per file we found out that more than 600 million movies were illegally distributed.
Not every illegal version would have been bought. Studies show that circa only every tenth movie would have been bought or rented.
This results in a financial damage in the region of 600 million euros. The damage is caused by file- and videohosters, P2P is not included in this calculation
How important are payment providers for the distribution of illegal content?
To answer this question a German report looked at 55 file and videohosters in 2014.
Every hoster had a source of income. 89% published ads and 69% offered the customer pay to use premium services, which normally means faster and unlimited downloads.
The study analyzed 38 hosters with payments in more detail:
The average price was € 8.30 per month or € 54.30 per year.
Top payments methods of the 38 hosters were:
Top payment providers were:
The consumers often don’t know to whom they pay. The recipients of the payments are often unknown and the hosters often have no (reliable) legal notice.
If you look at the behaviour of the hosters you will know why: Nearly 70 % of the hosters don’t delete illegal files within 48 hours after they receive a take down notice from the copyright owner.
Only one of these hosters acted in accordance to a verdict of the Federal Court and searched illegal files on portals and deleted them.
WebGuard organized an exemplary legal proceeding about ads on illegal websites. In this case WebGuard focused on sites violating the German youth protection act.
The Higher Regional court of Stuttgart decided that a company has to stop advertising on illegal sites once they are informed.
If they don’t stop placing legal ads on illegal sites they would be seen as supporting an illegal business model which would be a vicarious liability.
Once they know that their ads are being placed on illegal sites they have to avoid placing ads on this or similar sites.
The company is also liable if an agency places the ad.
In March 2013 GfK and OpSec published the first study about the way consumers are using sharehosters (filehoster, one-click-hoster).
The GfK Media Efficiency Panel made it possible to get a detailed overview of the surfing behaviour of Internet users visiting the three sharehosters uploaded, rapidshare and share-online.
These three hosters had more than 7.8 million German users in 2012. 60% of them visited the sharehosters at least twice a year.
OpSec, who checked the links, found out that the 96.5% of these visits were to download of illegal files. More than 50% of all downloads were movies and TV-shows.
WebGuard organized an exemplary legal proceeding in 2010 to find out if the right of information according to article 8 EC-Directive 2004/48 (Germany: § 101 UrhG) gives the right to demand payment information.
The Higher Regional Court in Cologne decided that:
File hosters have to offer information.
Moreover, hosters based in Switzerland have to provide information.
They have to disclose the name and the address of the uploader.
They also have to disclose e-mail addresses and telephone numbers.
However, the copyright owners don’t have the right to receive the bank account information, because such information is not part of the EC-Directive 2004/48 (article 8).
[Higher Regional Court – OLG Köln, verdict of 25.03.2011 – Az. 6 U 87/10]