The Number of Sites Offering Illegal Content Has Sextupled Since 2007

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And you thought that file-sharing was going down?

Maybe as a percentage, but this is a pie that is definitely getting bigger – and a lot more complicated.  “It is true that P2P’s percentage share of total traffic is down from previous years; but in large part this is attributable to increased use of streaming services and cyberlockers as means for making stolen copyrighted materials available,” the RIAA and a number of other trade groups recently wrote the US Department of Commerce.

So, what’s actually happening?  The situation goes far beyond Limewire and its ilk, and fans now enjoy innumerable options for getting free stuff.  “Research in the UK shows large increases in usage for unlicensed overseas MP3 sites, newsgroups, MP3 search engines, and forum blog and board links to cyberlockers, among other sources of pirate music,” the consortium continued.  “McAfee estimates that the number of ‘live, active sites delivering illegitimate content’ has sextupled since 2007, and notes ‘a growing number of websites designed solely for attracting users and directing them to illegitimate sites’.”

Others participating in the filing included the MPAA and AFTRA, and the consortium was responding to a “Notice for Information” from the Department.  The groups jumped on the opportunity to decry the DMCA as useless, though Google was praised for taking some steps to clean pirated content.