Let’s take a stroll down memory lane. Back in the 2000s, if you wanted to pirate your favourite movie or music, it was a whole production. Pirates were like undercover agents, smuggling cameras into cinemas or enduring marathon TV schedules just to capture a show. Downloaders had to invest in storage, high-speed internet, and constantly worry about viruses.
But today, it’s a different story. Everything’s online, and piracy has become way too easy. Pirates now use advanced software to copy content or tap into confidential sources for backend files. With super-fast mobile internet, they’ve gone mobile, streaming pirated stuff on the fly. No more laptops or desktops are needed. It’s all about illegal online streaming now.
Let’s face it, piracy isn’t cool. It hurts creators and the industry. So, join us as we explore five eye‑opening truths about streaming video piracy.
Spoiler alert: there’s more to this story than meets the eye.
Primary Causes of Piracy:
Certainly, let’s delve into the primary causes of piracy, unravelling the motivations behind this widespread phenomenon:
The Love for Freebies: It’s no secret that people adore getting something for free. The allure of accessing premium content without opening your wallet is hard to resist.
High Costs of Legitimate Access: Legal streaming platforms often require multiple subscriptions for various shows or movies. This can become quite expensive, prompting some to turn to piracy as a cost-effective alternative.
Regional Availability: When a show or movie gains popularity in one part of the world but isn’t readily available elsewhere, the temptation to pirate it surges. Global connectivity fuels this desire for content that isn’t easily accessible in one’s own region.
Delayed Releases: Sometimes, international releases are staggered, leading to piracy. Fans eager to avoid spoilers may resort to pirated copies rather than waiting for an official release.
One-Time Viewing: Subscribing to a platform for a single show or event can feel impractical. This is especially true for live content like sports or one-time events.
Anti-Big Corporation Sentiment: For some, piracy is like a small act of resistance against giant production companies. They think these bigwigs make tons of cash from theatres and subscriptions, so a bit of piracy won’t dent their fortunes.
Peer Influence: When everyone around you is indulging in piracy, it’s easy to assume it’s the norm. Peer pressure and the normalization of piracy can play a significant role in people’s decisions to engage in it.
In essence, piracy isn’t driven by a single cause but rather a combination of factors, from cost considerations to convenience and a touch of rebellion. Understanding these drivers provides valuable insights into tackling this complex issue.
Truths about Streaming Video Piracy:
Illicit IPTV Networks Are the Real Deal
When you think of piracy, you might picture sketchy websites and social media antics. But the true piracy powerhouse is something else entirely – illicit IPTV networks.
These crafty networks mimic the look and feel of legitimate streaming services, offering a treasure trove of channels and premium content at a fraction of the cost.
According to a survey, there are nearly 30,000 pirate networks scattered worldwide. It’s a whole different ballgame.
Sharing passwords for streaming giants like Netflix, Disney+, or Amazon Prime has practically become a global pastime.
Surprise, surprise – Netflix recently decided to make it even simpler for folks to share their credentials with friends beyond their household, although with a slight price bump.
The question is: will this move put an end to password sharing? Time will tell.
Pirates Aren’t Just Geeky Robin Hoods
Remember the cliché image of geeks in hoodies, thinking they’re modern-day Robin Hoods? Well, it’s time to shatter that stereotype.
Pirates are more like sharp-suited businesspeople, running a well-structured hierarchy. At the top, you’ve got the “godfathers,” and below them, a troop of resellers connecting directly with subscribers.
The equation is pretty straightforward: stolen content equals free content, and it’s turning in a tidy profit.
DRM Isn’t the Only Sheriff in Town
Digital Rights Management (DRM) has been the go-to guardian for years, but the rise of OTT services shook things up.
With the proliferation of unmanaged devices like smartphones and smart TVs, pirates have more opportunities to strike.
Launching a piracy service is as easy as ordering takeout, thanks to user-friendly tools. Pirates can even pose as legitimate apps and strip away DRM protections.
They employ CDNs to give multiple clients network access, sidestepping concurrency limits and grabbing all the necessary licenses and access tokens.
The end result? Illegal streams find their way to various piracy platforms, and someone else gets left with the CDN bill.
Tech Is the Pirate Buster, but Not the Only One
Piracy is a cybercrime, and pirates are tech-savvy criminals. So, naturally, tech is our ally in this battle.
Tech solutions like watermarking can help spot content leaks, monitoring illegal streams that disrupts pirate operations, and various tools combat password sharing.
However, remember that tech isn’t a magic wand – it’s just one piece of the puzzle.
It’s crystal clear that streaming video piracy is a massive problem that’s here to stay, with India alone losing a whopping 30% of annual revenue to this digital menace. Unfortunately, younger generations seem to accept it as the norm, posing a serious challenge.
To fight this tide, platforms are employing various tactics, from digital rights management to content watermarking. However, experts predict that more failures and mergers are on the horizon, which might only boost piracy further.
But here’s the twist: the real battle against piracy begins with public awareness, education, law enforcement, policy making, etc. The biggest enemy here is our own indifference. It’s time for a change. Wake up and smell the coffee, piracy is killing the entertainment industry and must be dealt with.
“Downloading dreams or stealing streams? The choice defines digital ethics.”
Have you been selling movies you recorded on your camera? or are you uploading them on the internet for free? If you are, then it’s imperative that you read further…
With over 1000 movies produced every year; India has a thriving film industry. It’s also one of the largest markets in the world for movies, which also makes it the biggest market for pirated content. Major titles get pirated and distributed in the black market as soon as it’s released either for free or for as low as a dollar or ₹ 74. This not only results in loss of revenue for many producers but also makes piracy lucrative.
India’s Managing Director of Motion Picture Distributors’ Association, Uday Singh quoted that, “Content theft or piracy in the film industry originates from ‘camcording’ in cinema halls. The Indian film industry loses around Rs 18,000 crore ($2.7 billion) and over 60,000 jobs every year because of piracy.”
The major cause for pirating movies is its ease in availability which is within a few hours from its release. According to the estimates, about 90% of pirated releases can be traced back to camcorders or smartphone recordings.
Towards preventing unauthorized recording, copying, and distribution of pirated content, the Indian government put forward a proposal to amend the Cinematograph Act and protect the local film industry.
On February 6, 2019, Sitanshu Kar, Principal Spokesperson for the Government of India announced that the amendments to the 1952 Cinematograph Act have been passed by the Union Cabinet.
Stiff Sentence and a Huge Fine
As per the amendments, no person is authorized to use audio or video recording devices to record or distribute a movie without the written and explicit permission of copyright holders. The proposed punishment included a 3 years jail term and/or a fine of up to $14,000/Rs. 10,00,000. This rather severe punishment is expected to act as a deterrent to pirates and would-be pirates.
Will it Completely Eradicate Piracy?
While the Media & Entertainment industry has received this news with great enthusiasm hoping it will curtail piracy, popular torrent sites like TamilRockers seem unperturbed and continue business as usual. While this law is a welcome move and might deter pirates, it’s unlikely that it will completely put an end to piracy. A concerted effort by antipiracy companies, media companies, enforcement agencies, internet companies, and implementation of strict statutory laws is the need of the hour.
What are your thoughts on the proposed law? Is it going to be effective in controlling piracy in India? Let us know in the comments below.
Do you share pirated movies or movie clips on WhatsApp or WhatsApp groups, if yes, you should read this!
As per the orders of the Delhi High Court, WhatsApp suspended two million Indian accounts and received 345 grievance reports between May 15 and June 15. Based on a lawsuit filed by Zee, it also ordered WhatsApp to take similar action on those accounts which were used to circulate pirated copies of the film “Radhe Your Most Wanted Bhai”.
An official complaint was filed with cybercrime police by Zee and then the matter was taken to the Delhi High Court requesting an interim relief for defendants who were responsible for distributing the movie online. WhatsApp informed the court that they have policies in place for copyright infringement and they suspend or terminate user accounts as per their policy.
On May 20th, Justice Sanjeev Narula granted an ex parte injunction, i.e., asked eight alleged pirates to restrain from pirating copies of the film and ordered WhatsApp to suspend two accounts whose users were yet to be identified. It also told WhatsApp that it should suspend accounts that were allegedly used to pirate movies within 24 hours as per the instructions of Zee.
On June 1st, the personal details belonging to 8 defendants were handed over to the plaintiffs by service providers. Counsel for the remaining 4 alleged pirates said that they wish for a peaceful settlement of the matter with Zee. But there was no confirmation on the same by the media company.
While WhatsApp Suspended its Users Accounts it Objected Further Suspensions
Mukul Rohatgi confirmed that while its client – WhatsApp, suspended two accounts as per the court’s order, it had concerns regarding the suspension of future accounts simply based on Zee’s allegations. He argued that WhatsApp can only be held accountable in a situation where it knows that illegal content is being distributed and still refuses to take it down. Further, with the end-to-end encryption feature of WhatsApp accounts, it claimed that it cannot see the messages of its users. Since it cannot validate the claims; this “unfettered discretion” to remove WhatsApp accounts whenever Zee chooses to is not reasonable.
Amit Sibal – the counsel representing Zee said that, since Zee is a responsible company, it would not misuse the order and it was just and proper to suspend accounts. He said that in such cases Zee could be subjected to judicial scrutiny and he also agreed for additional safeguards if it meant that order can be in place.
Justice Narula ruled that this matter would require additional consideration. But, later upon finding merit in Mr. Rohatgi arguments, the court decided that it would be appropriate for the accounts to be suspended based on the orders of the court.
Once, when Navya was a young girl, her grandmother had narrated the story of Padmavati – a legendary Rajput queen from the 14th century. She remembered how deeply she respected this woman for her honor, valor and grace. And as crazy as this may sound – when she listened to these stories, she would dwell so deep in them that she would talk like her, behave like her, sing and dance like her! she believed she was the queen Padmavati herself. Wanting to relive these moments; she used telegram to download the copyrighted version of the film “Padmaavat”.
Well, she’s not alone. Many others like her have discovered pirated content over Telegram.
Telegram – the popular messaging app that provides users with end-to-end encryption on their chats, has become the leading source for pirated content throughout Asia. This app is generally popular amongst activists, journalists, and whistle blowers; because it allows users to conceal their identity while sharing texts, videos, and other copyrighted content.
Telegram statistics as of 2021 reveal that it was the most downloaded app on Play Store and App Store with 500 million active monthly users and 63 million plus downloads globally. It’s also rated as a popular networking app in Malaysia according to App Annie and ranks at 3rd position in India.
So, with these many million active users; it is the root cause of considerable revenue loss for content creators while it is the preferred platform by pirates to distribute unlicensed content.
Pirates favour Telegram because it allows them to share data in encrypted chat groups that consist of 2,00,000 plus people; which in turn attracts millions of subscribers. It also prevents internet providers, telecom providers and the platform itself from decrypting conversations. The group chat also enables users to hide their phone numbers thus helping them conceal their identity.
Let’s check out some of the ways these pirates are exploiting Telegram:
By Disguising: Due to the absence of an embedded player inside the platform – pirates can upload free videos on Telegram’s hosted cloud services, use its channels and groups to distribute text and M3U links to consumers. Further, to attract more users – pirates use recognised payment gateways such as Bitcoin, PayPal and they even add subtitles in various languages. They hide keywords pertaining to the content they have stolen and make use of code words in their messages to attract users by including references to private pirate channels.
By Strategizing: A few minutes before a live-sporting event; these pirates not only spread new channels on Telegrams with new links consisting of illegal content but
they also have back-up channels readily available to consumers in case the first link gets removed.
Abandoning Ship:Pirates even send notifications to its users stating that a Telegram channel has been suspended because of copyright and provide instruction to follow a new channel. They even ask consumers to shift to other platforms and pirate sites by sharing links to the open web or to other platforms.
Pilfering the stream:As if live streams weren’t enough, pirates offer OTT subscribers with stolen credentials, hacked IPTV emulator channels where consumers can watch live channels without requiring a set-top box, and pirated APKs.
Producers and broadcasters spend huge amounts on their content and for purchasing sports rights. They should be confident that they can cover their costs and sustain their business in the long run. So, coming up with a strategy for anti-piracy requires a meticulous, forensic, intelligence-led approach to figure out complex pirate ecosystems that exist in various layers. We need to understand trends, unravel approaches and know the pirates’ behavioural patterns to win against them. Hence, the media industry needs to collaborate with government and law enforcement agencies to come up with stricter penalties and to make use of technologies like watermarking mandatory.
Contact the experts
AiPlex prides itself in being India’s first antipiracy company with more than 12+ years of domain expertise. It has helped take down infringed content across various platforms, verify over a million URLs, detect fake websites and provide content protection solutions for over 200+ content owners.
Does your website contain pirated links – 100s of them? If yes, then your website might be removed from the search results, FOREVER.
Many countries are adopting a rightsholder-centric approach and have resorted to blocking pirate sites, sometimes permanently. This is done to clamp down on the availability of pirated movies and TV shows in search engine results.
Piracy Will Make Movies Unviable
Misuse of copyright law is nothing new; the piracy ecosystem thrives on this. Unless, aggressive enforcement of copyright by all stakeholders including major search engines are put in place, it is near impossible for the content industry to sustain itself.
Google has Zero-Tolerance to Piracy
In the first quarter of 2021, Google in its fight against piracy has processed 5-billion takedown requests from copyright holders across the globe.
Google, the dominant search engine platform, uses a large number of tools and programs to fight online piracy. But there’s still room for more preventive measures that need to be taken.
Google’s anti-piracy principles primarily focus on creating more and better legitimate alternatives by guarding against abuse and providing transparency.
In accordance with India’s new IT Rules 2021, Google publishes a monthly transparency report mentioning details of users’ complaints and the actions taken thereafter.
These reports have one thing in common, i.e., over 90% of requests are only about infringement of intellectual property rights (IPR).
Content owners can submit copyright infringement claims via Google’s webforms. Once the search engine giant receives valid takedown requests, it goes through verification for infringements and then removal. On average, over 500 sites are delisted each week from Google’s server.
Additionally, Google has an ‘automated detection process’ in place that quickly delists content that violates its Community Guidelines and Content Policies.
The Latest Russian Memorandum has Shaken the Piracy World with its Aggressive Measures.
Russia’s rightsholder-driven Anti-Piracy Memorandum just got tougher than ever. The Memorandum 2.0 mentions a new policy that will permanently remove sites from search results containing more than 100 links to pirated films and TV series.
This change will be a huge obstacle to the whole piracy ecosystem. More and more countries will take sufficient measures to hit the pirates where it hurts the most. A laudable measure that might deliver piracy a death blow!
India’s Measures to Tackle Digital Piracy:
The Government of India (GOI) has been actively taking part in protecting content owners’ intellectual property rights.
A few Govt. measures to prevent online piracy in India over the years include the Copyright Act of 1957, Copyright (Amendment) Act (2012), National Intellectual Property Rights Policy (2016), Cell of IPR Promotion & Management, Cinematograph Amendment Bill (2019), and John Doe Order.
Copyright Act of 1957 gives the owners their rights on their intellectual properties – literary, artistic, musical, & dramatic work.
Copyright (Amendment) Act mentions the inclusion of section 65A & 65B to protect content & take punishable action against copyright violations.
National Intellectual Property Rights Policy educates the audience by spreading knowledge on IPR awareness, creation, commercialization, & enforcement of the rules.
Cell of IPR Promotion & Management ensures that the IPR related issues are being addressed as per the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) policy.
With the Cinematograph Amendment Bill in place, anyone who is found guilty is sentenced to 3 years of imprisonment & a fine of up to ₹10 lakhs.
John Doe Order allows rightsholders to issue notice & file a prima facie case against infringers.
While the Govt. and companies like Google are working at preventing piracy, anti-piracy firms like AiPlex have been doing an excellent job in combatting this threat and beating pirates at their own game! To know more about how to protect your content with a techno-legal approach that has stood the test of time, please drop us a line.
There are more than 40 OTT platforms in India that offer original and exclusive content. At least 5 new OTT platforms are launched every month. Why then do customers in India still seek out and watch pirated content?
You Don’t Find What You Need
Take the case of Naveen, a middle-level executive. He subscribes to Amazon Prime and Sony Liv but then many of his favorite films and TV shows are not available on either of these platforms.
These OTT platforms compete with each other by offering “exclusive content” and “original programming” and that is exactly where the problem lies. It is not financially viable or practical to subscribe to all OTT platforms.
With this multitude of new entrants in the OTT space, content aggregation has become fragmented. It is impossible for any individual platform to provide enough choice to end consumers. In the absence of a legal one-stop shop for popular movies, TV shows, web series, sporting events, etc., people resort to pirated content.
Pirates Offer This Choice
However, pirates who run illegal streaming services aggregate content from multiple video streaming services into a single interface. Open-source video players and the same technology that OTT platforms use make this possible.
What Should OTT Platforms Do?
In addition to implementing a slew of security measures like DRM, watermarking, fingerprinting, etc., they should enlist the services of companies that offer customized anti piracy solutions for OTT platforms.
India’s First Online Anti Piracy Company Could be That Choice
We at AiPlex are not only pioneers in providing anti piracy solutions to Bollywood theatrical releases and the top OTT platforms in India but have also stood the test of time by protecting OTT content way back from 2010. All the big names in the OTT space bank on us.
We understand the piracy ecosystem like no other and are able to disrupt piracy at a visceral level.
People find unlicensed content invariably through search engines and social media platforms. Through an SEO-optimized process of detecting, reporting, and removing infringing listings instantly, we create a clean SERP environment.
Our tie-up with payment gateways, our legal expertise, connection with ISPs, coordination with enforcement agencies ensures that you make the most of your content portfolio and its monetization potential.
Right from the beginning of professional movie production, piracy has been there in different forms; be it bicycling (unauthorized extended shows in theatres) in the silent movie era, pirated CDs, camcorder recordings, or the current trend of restreaming of linear content.
But Does Digital Piracy Impact Sales?
This has been an eternal question that begs an answer. It depends on whom you ask and which side of the debate they stand on.
The Answer Could Be an Emphatic Yes-It Is Not That Simple Though!
There are statistical studies that say that piracy has no impact on sales.
On the other hand, there is a report that estimates that the Indian media and entertainment industry loses some 820,000 jobs and revenue equivalent to $4 billion each year to piracy and counterfeiting.
Factors That Might Help Us To Put The Debate to Rest
There are 2 interrelated factors that show up in almost all studies and reports on the impact of piracy on sales and they are the “displacement rate of piracy” and “audiences’ willingness to pay”
Displacement Rate: A study of the recent top box-office hits reveals that for every 10 movies watched illegally 4 fewer movies are watched legally, which means there is a displacement rate of 40%. These displacement rates translate to 5% less sales or revenue. Tidbit: Piracy competes more with theatre tickets than it does with downloads.
Audiences’ Unwillingness to Pay: A study also revealed that 4 out of 5 consumers were unwilling to pay the market rate for film and TV shows. If they could watch something for free, they would.
These 2 data points imply that piracy impacts sales either by displacing potential consumption or directing audiences to unlicensed free content for those unwilling to pay market prices.
The Third Dimension
The cultural aspect of piracy: The society at large doesn’t see viewing pirated content as something immoral or illegal. Societies increasingly condone piracy on different ideological grounds. An average consumer accessing pirated content with a simple Google search without any qualms or reservations about watching pirated content does really impact sales and revenues.
Piracy is no longer confined to tech-savvy users and the dark web. It is a digital product like any other and is impacting sales by billions of dollars.
What Should the Content Owners Do?
Piracy if not effectively dealt with could sound like a death knell for the media and entertainment industry.
Content owners should partner with a company that is at the forefront of fighting digital piracy in all its forms and has been successful at it; AiPlex is one such.
Just drop us a line and we will formulate a plan that is customized just for you.
Meh, So, what if I just downloaded one song off of the internet for free. That hurts nobody, no one needs to know. The diva makes millions of bucks anyway. A loss of few bucks just means peanuts to her!
Why should I spend my hard-earned cash on movie tickets? When I can access them from the comfort of my home with just a few clicks?
Online piracy is perceived as a victimless crime; something that absolutely hurts no one. This is quite obvious, a shallow argument. Online piracy is a crime. Pirating content is illegal because it results in a lost sale for the copyright owner be it movies, series, games, shows, videos, music, or books. It’s illegal because it deprives the content creator of his rightful dues for all the efforts that he/she and the team have put in.
FACTS & FIGURES:
Illegal streaming services account for more than 80% of global online piracy.
Online pirated videos receive 230 billion views in a year
Piracy websites received 130.5 billion visits in the year 2020
India ranks 4th amongst the top 10 countries with 5.6 billion visits for online piracy sites.
According to the estimates, the Indian film industry loses about Rs. 22,000 crores and 60,000 jobs in a year due to online piracy.
Book publishers incur a loss of Rs 400 crores every year.
20-25% of books sold in India are pirated.
How does online piracy occur?
Leakage of original content: In the case of music, series, or movies, an insider from the team who has access to original content would resort to leaking original content and sell it for a lesser price in the market.
Recording movies in theatres: Some people resort to recording the entire movie and sell them illegally. Although the sound quality and video quality are quite bad in a normal recording, it still gets sold in the market as it is watchable.
Stream recording: People also record live streams of certain movies through screen recording devices and sell them. With the help of software online, pirates use DVD and Blu-ray discs to record original content.
Why does online piracy occur?
One of the biggest reasons for online piracy is the inherent reluctance to pay and watch. People want everything for free, and websites like bit torrent, media max and traditional PFP applications only make it easier.
Some people resort to illegal downloading; simply because they cannot afford it due to financial troubles.
Other people pirate content to make a profit by reselling.
With the help of pirated content, hackers infect devices by spreading viruses and trojans.
A lot of people fail to understand that online piracy is theft which makes it illegal.
The outcome of online piracy
Companies involved in pirating illegal software are susceptible to infringements and copyright violations. The Indian constitution has a copyright act of 1957, under section 13, which protects all literary works, musical works, artistic works, dramatic works, sound recordings and cinematograph films. As per the cinematograph act of 2019, the government of India punishes individuals who resort to illegally recording movies without the written consent of producers. The penalty is a jail term of up to 3 years and a fine of Rs. 10 lakhs.
Apart from legal trouble, they also make themselves vulnerable to viruses and malware when they expose their networks and individual devices. The infected systems create an opportunity for hackers to install ransomware or malware. Downloading from torrent comes with its own risk because the ones who download are selling as well. A public IP address makes it easy to track.
How to stop online piracy
The only way to protect yourself from online piracy is to stop downloading content for free.
Avoid purchasing software from sellers who insist on making backup copies.
Ensure that the software products are authentic and consist of manuals, license, warranties and service policies.
Check for seals and holograms on CDs or DVDs you purchase.
Contact the experts
Aiplex prides itself in being India’s first antipiracy company with more than 12+ years of domain expertise. It has helped take down infringed content across various platforms, verify over a million URLs, detect fake websites and eradicate unlicensed content for over 200+ content owners.
The piracy audience is often superfans who have a very direct, engaging, and obsessive relationship with the content he/she watches. They go to great lengths to search, find, illegally stream or download content. These are valuable high-intent customers that consume content but do not pay for content as of yet.
AiPlex Business Research-Audience Insights
Over the past 12+ years, we have been monitoring and tracking trillions of visits, views, and downloads of pirated content. AiPlex Business Research team continues to build an exhaustive database and an unparalleled understanding of fan behavior. This data offers rich and predictive insights into content demand and consumption. It gives you actual data on demand for your content; you can formulate content strategies and customer acquisition around this data.
Digital Marketing for Content Owners
The content protection team has found a great ally in the digital marketing team of AiPlex Digital. The SEO experts, social media superstars, online advertisement gurus have all joined hands in researching keywords, competitor analysis, behavioral targeting, search engine traffic, Google analytics, etc.
Monetizing Piracy-Value-Addition from our Anti Piracy Solutions
We have a very counter-intuitive product for you. As an anti-piracy company, while we protect your content successfully against all sorts of piracy, our business research product will give actionable insights to your marketing and distribution teams. In essence, there is a large unmonetized audience for your content. In order for you to monetize this demand for content, AiPlex will share data that can be used to predict which territories and regions have an unsatiated demand for your content way ahead of the release date. Digital advertising campaigns can be targeted at these audience segments.
We Have Heard Good Things
We have already rolled out our product to a select group of our long-term customers. The feedback has been great and there is a great deal of excitement. Our data is being used by these customers to plan releases, pricing, and distribution strategies, implement both offline and digital marketing strategies; internationally, as well as, regionally with remarkable success.
To find about more about how AiPlex Business Research & Audience Insights can help you with your marketing and distribution strategy,please drop us a line.