The global demand for pirated content skyrocketed between January 2021 to September 2021 with the United States (13.5 billion), Russia (7.2 billion) and India (6.5 billion) coming in the first three positions.
The report titled “State of the Internet” says that a total of 132 billion visits to piracy websites were logged in 2021. It said that 61.5 per cent of consumers accessed the piracy sites directly, and 28.6 per cent actively searched for them. They mentioned that during the first nine months of 2021, pirated websites dedicated to movies, TV shows, music, software, and publishing-related copyright infringement were the most actively searched for.
With respect to films, India was ahead of others and accounted for the highest number of visits to websites offering pirated films for illegal downloads. Turkey, the US, China, and Brazil also had the highest visits to such websites.
Steve Ragan, security researcher at Akamai and author of the report said; “As content developers get better at guarding against piracy, criminals are adapting their methods to access protected content.”
Ragan also opined that the impact of piracy went far beyond stolen movies and other content. “The real cost is behind the scenes, leading to the loss of livelihood for those who work to create the movies, films, books, and software we all consume and enjoy,” the researcher pointed out.
With 67 billion visits, television is the most impacted industry by piracy, followed by publishing (30 billion), film (14.5 billion), music (10.8 billion) and software (9 billion). Most of the pirated content in the software category was games or PC software, while most of the pirated music content was songs for download or services like converting streaming media most notably YouTube videos into playable offline formats.
India was on top for pirated music content, followed by Iran and the US, the report noted.
Godzilla vs Kong was the most pirated film in 2021, followed by Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Black Widow, F9 and Mortal Kombat (2021). In television, the top five most pirated shows were Loki Season 1, Wanda vision Season 1, Rick and Morty Season 5, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Season 5 and The Walking Dead Season 10. Despite crackdowns on hundreds of websites offering pirated content by law enforcement agencies across several countries, online piracy has managed to thrive causing billions in losses to OTT companies that rely on subscription fees for revenue.
According to estimates of the US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center, online piracy costs American companies $29 billion in revenue loss every year.
OTT companies in India are losing up to 30% of their annual revenue to piracy, according to industry estimates. Though piracy is considered illegal in India and can lead to imprisonment up to 3 years, the practice is rampant.