31 May 2022Sarah Speight

Global online piracy rises by 30% in a year

Visits to online piracy sites increased by almost 30% in a year, with the US, Russia and India accounting for the highest consumption of pirated content.

The Digital Piracy Data Insights  Report by data firm MUSO, which tracked data in the first three months of 2022, reveals 52.5 billion visits worldwide to online piracy sites—a 29.3% increase on Q1 2021.

MUSO reported a “marked increase” in each of the five media sectors it analyses—film, TV, music, software and publishing, with TV accounting for almost half of all piracy traffic (47%).

The publishing sector—including ebooks, manga, educational books, magazines and newspapers—saw the largest growth in piracy with a 58.5% increase on last year, taking 26.8% of the total share.

Manga craze

This large increase in publishing piracy is fuelled by global demand for Manga (Japanese comics and graphic novels), according to MUSO. Manga alone takes 18.3% of all visits to piracy sites, compared with 12.4% in the same period a year ago, with three out of the top five piracy websites—out of MUSO’s database of 500,000 piracy websites—given over to Manga content.

Measuring the numbers by country, the US had the highest demand for piracy, with 5.7 billion visits to piracy websites—a 10.9% share of all traffic.

Russia and India each accounted for more than 3 billion visits to piracy websites in the same period.

China and France ranked fourth and fifth respectively, with visits to piracy sites from France rising by 500 million.

Illegal TV rise

Meanwhile, in its separate monthly TV Data Insights Report this month—which measures global piracy consumption of more than 200,000 TV and film titles across both the torrent network and unlicensed streaming websites—MUSO recorded 33.6 billion visits to piracy websites for TV content in the first four months of 2022.

The report also shows that demand from the UK for pirated TV content has grown year on year, with the UK now ranking third after the US and Russia.

MUSO uses automated software to analyse various piracy sites, including streaming, torrent, web download and stream ripping sites, to track activity in more than 150 countries and regions.

The data company works with police IP crime units, lawyers and courts, and produces reports with various partners, including the European Union Intellectual Property Office.

MUSO has measured piracy traffic and trends in each content industry since January 2017, and the data suggests a growing demand for illegal content.

In 2021, the company measured and analysed more than 182 billion visits to piracy websites, a 15.2% increase year on year when compared with 2020. In the first four months of 2022, the company measured 70.2 billion visits to piracy websites.

MUSO says it “would anticipate this trend to continue, especially in the current climate of subscription wars for subscription video on demand platforms combined with the economic squeeze and fast growing global inflation”.

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