Internet security

The Worldwide Reach of Digital Piracy

Many companies and artists abhor digital piracy. After all, people and businesses spend a lot of time and effort in creating music, movies, series, books, and video games. But even with how negative the perception toward piracy is, why does it continue? More importantly, is there an end to it?

A Global Problem

Last year, the Software Alliance posted the results of its comprehensive survey on digital piracy. According to its global research, the overall value of unlicensed software in the world was more than $45 billion. The study even revealed that one in three PCs have unlicensed software.

The amount may seem drastic. It’s clear that software companies would earn more if everyone bought licenses instead. But the finding is actually an improvement over the last couple of years. Still, that means that companies put their IT hardware and software at risk simply by not investing in them.

The survey for 2018 revealed that it was China who was the biggest offender when it comes to both unlicensed software and piracy in general. In second was the United States — followed by India, Rusia, and Iran to round out the top five. These are all big political and economic players, so it’s interesting why they would be placed so high above.

Granted, both China and India have a population of more than a billion people each. Plus, these countries are undergoing rapid developments. More and more of their citizens are learning how to use computers and access the Internet. Devices are relatively affordable, but the content may be either too expensive or simply out of reach due to geophysical restrictions.

The other entries in the list include Korea, Spain, Indonesia, Italy, Germany, France, and the UK. Thus, it’s clear that it’s not the case of developing countries being more open to piracy than the developed ones. What it does indicate is that the price may be less of a factor for some. That, for others, their number one reason for torrenting files is convenience. 

Digital Piracy Data from MUSO

Software Alliance wasn’t the only group that posted its findings on piracy. In 2017, a London-based company called MUSO also had its own study. It looked at billions of piracy cases that occur on a regular basis. Their aim is to help companies and copyright owners a clear view of what the problem is all about.

That may seem like a daunting deal, but MUSO has a database that’s comprised of 196 nations. It has the capacity to track millions of devices and countless webpages. The company has the tools the track those torrenting with personal PC or laptops. And with their findings, companies and individuals could create better strategies on how they could protect their content.

According to MUSO, torrenting sites received at least 300 billion visits. That amounts to almost one billion visits each and every day. In addition, the study revealed that people were likely to torrent TV content such as reality shows and fiction series rather than movies.

And while those who torrent have the option to download the file, a bigger portion of the crowd would just rather stream the content. This piracy a confusing issue. People around the world already have the option to pay for Netflix streaming, so why should they continue to torrent files?

A Slightly Different List of Piracy

The findings from MUSO indicate that China isn’t the biggest contributor to digital piracy. To be fair, this was data in 2017 — a lot can happen in just a year when it comes to digital technology. Here, the US is the top offender. It’s then followed by Russia, India, and Brazil. Surprisingly China is just ranked 18th.

MUSO noted that visits from Chinese users to piracy sites amounted to just around 4.5 billion. Still, the list proves that India is a remarkable part of the torrenting community. Moreover, the likes of France and the UK are also in the top ten list. Once again, it shows that national economic progress does not solve the problem of digital piracy.

A Lasting Problem

Even as companies such as Disney, Amazon, and Netflix compete in the streaming industry, they won’t necessarily eliminate digital piracy. There are many factors why. Three of these are the convenience, price, and availability. If the streaming platform is clunky or requires a lot of steps each time you want to watch, people would just stick to piracy.

Moreover, not everyone in the world has the budget to pay for monthly streaming fees. And it doesn’t help that not all the shows they want to see are in the same platform. Thus, either they pay for another streaming site — or they just go back to piracy.

The problem with digital piracy is that it is too easy to use. Moreover, the tendency for companies to restrict content makes it hard for some to keep paying. Plus, not everyone who pirates movies would actually go and see the movies in theaters if they had no other option. It’s important that organisations understand the many reasons why people commit piracy in the first place.