If You Think Piracy Is Decreasing, You Haven’t Looked at the Data…

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The following comes from Robert Steele, president and COO at DMN partner Rightscorp.

In speaking with people both inside and outside the entertainment industry over the last few years, I’ve been fascinated with what appears to be a general consensus that internet piracy isn’t the problem it once was.  When I tell people that I help protect artists’ rights on the internet and collect payments from people who are file-sharing music and movies without permission, people often say, “hasn’t streaming eliminated piracy?” or “I thought they shut that down?” or “didn’t they get sued?”

When I mention that file-sharing in North America has grown 44% from 2008 to 2014, I often get silence as the response, or “hmmm.”

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First, I think those that care about distribution of media without compensation on the internet have progressed from outrage to fatigue, then to resignation, and ultimately to acceptance and its cousin, denial.  The U.S. Copyright Office put out a report in February 2015 titled, Copyright and the Music Marketplace where regarding piracy, the editor stated, “Unlike in the Napster era, stakeholders now seem resigned to this marketplace condition and the perhaps irreversible impact it has had on the industry.”1

Second, it may be that any news that looks even remotely hopeful sets the tone and does so regardless of its full accuracy. Billboard ran an article in 2013, “Business Matters: How Netflix Reduces Piracy,” quoting Netflix’s chief content officer as saying that “BitTorrent traffic drops as the Netflix traffic grows” when the service launches in a territory.  Netflix launched streaming in the United States in 2008 and Canada in 2010.

We applaud Netflix, but the fact remains that file-sharing in North America has grown in the US by 44% since 2008.

BitTorrent responded to this assertion by saying that their technology will “reduce BitTorrent traffic during times of peak Internet usage to give priority to other types of Internet activity – such as that utilized by Netflix. When people use apps like Netflix, then, yes, the BitTorrent traffic is reduced, but not because Netflix is replacing piracy, but because the protocol is designed to work that way.”

Before we go much further, we should answer the inevitable “BitTorrent is not synonymous with piracy” chorus.  Netnames found that the majority of filesharing infringes on copyright from 78.1% for music to 92.9% for television.   In this discussion, we equate growth in filesharing traffic as growth in piracy.

Then there’s spin, bias, and just incomplete reporting on both data and trends.

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For example, Time Magazine reported “Revenue Up, Piracy Down: Has the Music Industry Finally Turned a Corner?” in 2013 citing an NPD study that said,

“Piracy, for instance, continued to decline in 2012, according to a survey by the NPD Group. About one in ten American Internet users downloaded music through a peer-to-peer network in 2012 — think BitTorrent or the now-defunct LimeWire — compared to one in five when the phenomenon peaked in 2005.”  

Our understanding is that this NPD study was based on survey interviews with people who had file-shared in the past. The year-over-year decrease was determined based on recontacting people who had admitted to breaking the law the prior year and asking them if they were still breaking the law.

Despite its unorthodox approach, the NPD study has formed the bedrock of much of the prevailing wisdom regarding file-sharing when the fact remains that when measured by data volume, file-sharing in North America has increased 44% since 2008.

And what about the impact of streaming on illegal downloading?  The narrative we most often hear is “People are willing to pay if they can get what they want when they want it,” which is actually a direct quote from Daniel Westman, researcher at the Swedish Law & Informatics Research Institute at Stockholm University. Nearby, a recent study from the University of Lund in Sweden has gotten a lot of press for stating that “the number of users who share files on a daily basis has dropped from 32.8 percent in 2012 to 29 percent in 2014.”  The study credits streaming services such as Spotify and Netflix with this shift.  What you see less discussion on is that in 2014, consumer internet users in Sweden used an average of 363 petabytes per month, with 82 petabytes or 22% of that used for file-sharing.

On an annualized basis, this is the equivalent of 1.5 billion CDs worth of content file-shared in Sweden in 2014.

The Swedish case study, however, does raise some interesting questions.  Cisco is currently predicting that file-sharing will experience an 11% decrease in Sweden by 2019, in contrast to growing 51% in the US through 2019.  So while it appears that a case could be made that streaming will reduce file-sharing from 1.5 billion CDs (1 CD=650 Mb) a year to 1.3 billion CDs a year in Sweden over five years, why isn’t there any decrease in the US?  If streaming and providing better, more efficient alternatives is the answer to piracy, why don’t we see any decrease in the US where we have had the best streaming solutions for many years?

The ‘streaming effect’ isn’t working in the US.  Rhapsody has been streaming the major labels’ content in the United States since 2002, yet file-sharing has greatly increased since then. Spotify debuted in the US in 2011, yet file-sharing in the US has continued to rise.

Netflix debuted in the US in 2008, yet file-sharing of TV shows and films has also grown.

What we do know for sure is that even with 60 million Netflix users and 20 million paid Spotify users, there are still more than 100 million people using BitTorrent on any given day and that massive free consumption decreases the price that content owners can charge for content.  On their last earning call, Netflix CFO David Wells stated,

“Piracy is a governor in terms of our price in high piracy markets outside the US. We wouldn’t want to come out with a high price, because there’s a lot of piracy.  So we have to compete with that.  So there is a little bit of governor on our price outside the US.”

I’ll acknowledge an interesting anomaly in the upward trend, which is that file-sharing in North America appears to have decreased from 802 petabytes per month in 2013 to 797 petabytes per month in 2014.  But a closer look at internet usage statistics from Sandvine reveals that VPN use grew 17% from 2013 to 2014.  It’s impossible to know exactly what people were using these VPNs for, but VPN use has more than doubled between 2011 and 2014.  We believe that the small decrease in petabytes per month from 2013 to 2014 is due less to a decrease in piracy and more to a shift to VPN usage.

But even with this decrease, Cisco still predicts a 51% increase in file-sharing in North America through 2019.

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So why don’t we hear more about the actual fact that file-sharing piracy is increasing in North America?

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We believe that part of the confusion comes from the fact that even though worldwide file-sharing piracy has grown by 80% from 2008 to 2014, file-sharing piracy has actually decreased in Western Europe where a lot of the reporting and industry advocacy comes from.  But even after this decrease, the magnitude of file-sharing piracy in Western Europe is still staggering.  In 2014, 20% of all European internet traffic was file-sharing, and on an annualized basis, and a staggering 22 billion CDs worth of content was distributed without compensation in Western Europe.  Indeed, file-sharing piracy in Western Europe was still 48% greater than in North America in 2014, even after 4 years of decline.

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Perhaps we simply need facts.  And in the United States, several current statistics really tell the story:

  • According to Nashville Songwriters Association International, the number of full-time songwriters in Nashville has dropped 80% since 2000. This was a new low point since data started tracking in 1991.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 39,260 people in the United States classified as “Musicians and Singers.”  This is down 27% from 53,940 in 2002.

Additionally, after the recent Netflix earnings call discussed above, we now have concrete proof that piracy greatly reduces the pricing power of all sellers of digital content on the Internet.  We believe that this once and for all eliminates all of the tired rationalizations we have heard over the last decade about how copying isn’t stealing, piracy helps artists, etc.  With the rise of Popcorn Time and Cactus Player, a similar file-sharing platform that delivers music via peer-to-peer without websites, we can see that the future of filesharing is unaffected by take-down notices and domain blocking. Our belief is that all content owners must recognize that until they have a scalable system that discourages hundreds of millions of internet users from giving away content for free on file sharing networks, that revenues and pricing power will continue to decrease.

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There are two reasons for this.  First, technologies like Popcorn Time aren’t affected by blocking domains.  The only way to reduce their effectiveness is to get seeders, i.e., file-sharers, to stop seeding.

Second, when everyone knows that your product is available for free on the internet with no consequences, they place less and less value on it, even if they never pirate.

That’s why we formed Rightscorp.  In order to actually do something about 18% of all internet traffic being used to consume media without compensation, we believe that there must be a scalable system that is self-financing and empowers content owners to discourage the distribution of their content without their permission.  We also provide a free service to ISPs to give them accurate and real-time information on their subscribers that are distributing our clients’ content repeatedly without permission.  We also provide a free service to send offers of settlement to internet subscribers that have been distributing content without permission, usually for $30 per infringement, which is shared with the content owner.  If they do not make the payments, we remind ISPs of their requirement under the law to have a policy for terminating service to subscribers who repeatedly infringe copyrights.  When people pay the settlement, however, they are removed from the list we send to ISPs.

So if you’re a rights owner, I’d strongly encourage you to look at what’s really going on, what the actual data is saying, and how that’s affecting the health of your company.  Please visit us, or better yet, register your IP and see what real content defense really entails.

The more people join the fight, and act upon real data, the stronger the future will be for dedicated creators of content and culture.

93 Responses

  1. Don Verall

    Thanks for the Rightscorp advert, very subtle 🙂

    • Anonymous

      Easy with the irony dude, these are the good guys…

      🙂 The real Anonymous 🙂

      • The Music Umbrella

        I love statistics…. If given the same set of numbers , I could make it seem that file sharing has slowed down dramatically over the past ten years . It is a problem that needs addressed now and with everyone on board with ending it. Pirating streaming too. On the positive -ish side Apple Music, ( I’m not a fan ) is over 10 million sign ups in less than a month. Subscriptions do work..#themusicumbrella.net

        • Tx

          agreed. this is ridiculous! they are using statistics trying to make “sharing” the culprit. its not, its increased supply!!! before people shared just as much. it just wasnt measurable due to loaning book, copying music on cassettes etc. due to internet it now is measurable and all of a sudden corporations try to squeeze every last possible drop out of people instead of realizing the real problem: before, the industry controlled what was available, we didnt have half as many artists to chose from. they artificially controlled supply and hence price value. now the supply has exploded and there are little barriers to entry for the music to be heard worldwide. on top of that the music industry went with, what was it? i tunes? the buy each track separately thing. before you had to buy an entire album even if you only liked 2 tracks. not anymore. the industry screwed themselves. instead of blaming “piracy” they need to go back to high school and re-do basic economics. seems like they shoulda paid more attention in class. and stop trying to inflate piracy like this. didnt the npd have reports on about how many music tracks are pirated per year? check that with industry decline, piracy (even if doubled)would only account for a few percentages !!! and on top of that, most people that pirate would never have bought the item anyway.

  2. Jose Fritz

    Those metrics measure file sharing. File-sharing and piracy are not synonyms. This is utterly bogus.

    • Anonymous

      “File-sharing and piracy are not synonyms”

      For all practical purposes?

      Um, yes they are.

    • Cassandra @ The Huge Anime Fan blog

      Jose Fritz actually file sharing and pirating are the same. Once you file share you obtain what you want and chances are you wont want to purchase whatever you obtained.

    • Versus

      The article addresses that point. Since most file-sharing traffic is piracy, then the massive increase in file-sharing implies at least a likely increase in piracy.

    • John Eppstein

      As somebody who use to know quite a few people who were deeply involved in the Bittorrent scene (I used to play bar trivia with one of their programmers, among other things), I can tell you that file “sharing” is indeed synonymous with piracy, although piracy is by no means restricted to bittorrent.

      Anybody who tries to tell you differently is either a self-serving liar or at least very deeply in denial.

      And I can tell you something else – those donations that the users make to support the “amateur” run trackers “free” services provide a very lucrative income for the owners of those sites. The figures they post about how much they need to make “expenses” are thoroughly cooked.

    • Tx

      yup! most of my file sharing i download is stuff i already legally own! sometimes double own >.<
      i know plenty other people that file share stuff that is in no way piracy i.e. their own work!

  3. Anonymous

    Should’ve nipped this in the bud 10 years ago.

    • Rickshaw

      10 years ago would have been too late. Try 15.

    • Jim

      Yeah, should’ve nipped it in the bud 10-15 years ago. The Major Label websites are so compelling, I’m shocked that no one buys all their music content from there. Seriously, as soon as the internet opened up, the major labels should’ve been asking people to buy things from them. Going back 17-20 years, the majors should’ve just said – we got this, we don’t need Amazon and CD Now and Music Boulevard to mail CDs out for us. We can do that. But they didn’t. I have no sympathy for them. They suck at this. I get how Majors can’t afford to build record stores, but they can mail CDs.

    • Tx

      they tried and screwed themselves by splitting CD’s up into individual tracks. instead of lets say 10 bucks for album they got maybe 2-3 for tracks people wanted. they failed to anticipate consumer demand change with massively increased supply and removal of barriers to entry for new artists.

  4. JS

    Music file sharing IS down. Movie and TV file sharing is UP.

    • Anonymous

      This. And the video files are higher and higher quality as usage tends towards full res HD, so the sharers are using more data while sharing fewer files.

      Just look at the share stats on what.cd for leaked albums 5+ years ago vs. leaked albums today. The numbers half a decade ago were much higher.

      • Me2

        Good point about overall file size increasing. The data should have been weighted to account for that.

        Good luck I know, but I’d like one day to see thorough, unbiased numbers on this.

        True that movie sharing has increased, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that music sharing is down.

        I did see a study showing piracy was significantly reduced by three-strike laws and ISP blocking, but we don’t wanna go there.. free speech right?

        “Spotify killed piracy” is my official tune-out phrase for 2015.

        • Anonymous

          “piracy was significantly reduced by three-strike laws and ISP blocking, but we don’t wanna go there

          I do. 🙂

          ISP blocking is indeed the answer. It’s beyond me why these corporations are allowed to make fortunes from theft.

          • Me2

            “It’s beyond me why these corporations are allowed to make fortunes from theft.”

            $$$$ To lobby for advantageous laws and to manipulate public opinion.

      • Anonymous

        Agreed, this study article completely overlooks increasing program and file sizes that have come about from increased resolution, quality and an over abundance of storage space. Tracking total data is not the same as quantity. Instead it is a mix of quantity and quality.

  5. jw

    DMN itself has published stories stating that music rarely if ever makes its way into the Pirate Bay Top 100. Currently it’s 100% movies, tv, & pc software. Right now the top shared movie torrent has 10x as many sharers as the top shared music torrent, & is more than 250x larger in file size. So it’s pretty clear what this piracy data actually is.

    The statement that 1pb of shared data means 1.6m shared CDs is shamefully misleading. Because it’s by & large not music data… video content isn’t shared on cds, they’re shared on dvds. People who market themselves like this are shitheads. I hope any consumer who receives a letter from this company realizes that they have no legal requirement to pay the requested $30/infringement.

    Music piracy is almost a cost of doing business at this point, & really only affects botched releases… YouTube has a much bigger impact on recorded music revenue than piracy.

    This website is just going back in time lately. I understand that the site has to make money somehow, but neither publishing a shit editorial on a shit book that came out years ago nor promoting these shit piracy mall cops who are pretending like it’s still 2005 are good looks for DMN.

    • Anonymous

      “Music piracy is almost a cost of doing business at this point, & really only affects botched releases… ”

      Or when Spin Magazine leaks your shit

  6. Me2

    And then there’s the fact that so many of the music plays have gone to YouTube.

    Legal at the moment, but infringing nonetheless. Uploading unauthorized copies of videos and music stretches the definition of “user generated” content.

    A good look at “piracy” might give this some serious consideration.

    • Anonymous

      “YouTube. Legal at the moment, but infringing nonetheless”

      Yup — and there’s no way to stop it.

      ContentID doesn’t work at all, and take-downs are a joke — e.g. by the time YouTube finally removes the illegal files, they’ve been watched by millions of users, and nobody makes money from that except Google.

  7. jim


    Everyone knows piracy has not really decreased, despite streamning.

  8. MarkH

    Why don’t the majors just release their own music search engine? If they can’t stop piracy (which they can’t), why not get some of that ad money instead of letting Google get it all?

    • Anonymous

      Because it’s really not that easy. And the majors have made multiple attempts to do various online services – they haven’t worked.

    • jw

      This is really hilarious.

      Could you imagine what a major label funded search engine experience would be like? lmaolmaolmao.

      • MarkH

        Ha, you have a point there. It wouldn’t happen overnight for sure, and they’d have to give it a cool name like TuneTorrentZ or something.

    • smg77

      The major labels still live in a fantasy world where they think they are going to find some way to get people to pay $18 for CDs again. Until they get over that they won’t be able to embrace the future which is streaming.

      • Anonymous

        Dude, this has nothing to do with major labels, and nobody has talked about $18 CDs in this century.

        I’m sure you agree that artists should be paid for their work like everybody else…

        • FarePlay

          However you slice and dice the numbers, unauthorized file sharing is still a significant problem and has continued to grow under ineffective laws and non-existent consequences, as recently demonstrated by Grooveshark. The nearly bankrupt company, Grooveshark, is on the hook for the fines, not the principals.

          No jail time, no suspended sentences, not even community service work. White collar crime encourages criminal activity and makes the rest of us feel betrayed. Sucker.

        • smg77

          Of course artists deserve to paid for their work. It’s too bad that the major labels don’t agree.

          • FarePlay

            No question the labels contribute to the problem, clubs stiff bands, life sucks, but that’s not what were talking about here.

          • Anonymous

            “It’s too bad that the major labels don’t agree”

            Pirates steal from all artists — no matter if they’re on a major label or not.

            And that really hurts if you’re independent. (You’re financing everything yourself; writing, studio, gear, musicians, vocalists, mixing, mastering, distribution; nobody pays you advances, etc.)

  9. Response from NPD Group (Russ Crupnick)


    Thanks to Digital Music News for a well delivered perspective on file sharing. At NPD Music, which is now MusicWatch, we have been persistent in reminding the industry that piracy is far from dead. A few points, and I’m happy if you share with the author, and your readers:

    As the author of the NPD (now MusicWatch) study I need to note that the characterization of the 2013 NPD study is incorrect. The methodology has never consisted of recontacting people who admitted to file sharing in the prior year. In fact, we ran passive monitoring of P2P downloading behavior and the number of people identified as utilizing P2P networks to illegally download music was surprisingly similar to the numbers obtained by surveys.

    People aren’t files. The author is mixing users with usage, which is a bit dangerous. Since we measure both, I can tell you that users can decline (what’s quoted from NPD) while traffic can increase. Over the years we saw the intensity of music file sharing increase even as the number of sharers declined, due in part to faster broadband, evolution of sharing services and more space to store files.

    What is missing in this discussion is the emergence and growth of “piracy” methods related to stream-ripping and use of mobile music downloading apps. These are challenging traditional P2P file sharing for supremacy in terms of the numbers of people using the apps.

    It’s a credit to Digital Music News that the piracy conversation isn’t being lost. Illegal downloading continues to be a plague regardless of which statistics are quoted. I just need to offer a bit of clarification on the numbers that we’ve put out.



  10. Vote Pirate!

    The issue, at least one of the main issues, is that even with the rule of law, all they have to show that someone pirated something is the IP. That alone cannot be incriminating in any way. Even IT pros, even the government aren’t immune to hacking. Do you really expect the average construction worker to know how to keep his home network secure?

    If someone dumps a dead corpse on your front lawn, does it make you a murderer? IP trolls sure seem to think so. But when tested against the legal realities, those trolls are sat down pretty fast. Of course the cops might look into investigating you if they can get a warrant for it. However, that’s a human life that was taken, which justifies the public resources being spent on that. When it comes to piracy, you not only still have the original, but no one was harmed by the individual action.

    Furthermore, they have to remove the supposedly material used to commit the crime, which means, they could easily inject incriminating elements into the hard drive once it is in their lab. That means even more public money, which exactly 0 countries in world have to spare right now, to make sure that the elements found therein would be presentable as proof beyond reasonable doubt.

    With your ideals of your rule of law I can guarantee you one thing, the guilty wont hang.

    • Anonymous

      “When it comes to piracy, you not only still have the original, but no one was harmed by the individual action”

      Please post your usernames/passwords, bank information, social security number and credit card info, thank you.

      • Me2

        Could you email me me a copy of the money too?
        It’s all just ones and zeros anyways.

        • George

          The irony is. you are joking about pirating money, but that is exactly what I see coming. After that? Buying hard assets (cars, houses) initially deemed “not OK to steal” with that pirated money. (As soon as it’s possible, watch piracy’s public champions forget they said that’s “not OK” in a millisecond…)

          I don’t know any better than others where this ever-growing piracy is taking us. Perhaps towards a gentler future, perhaps not. I only know that so far, every time a society preferred sharing over property rights, the outcome become a universally shared poverty as in the USSR. Not a good omen.

  11. Thanks, Russ

    Jeez, you mean DMN once again got something totally wrong, and mis-characterized a fact-devoid, logically flawed advertorial Rightscorp as some sort of factual news?

    I’m shocked…

    There is NO actual, usable “data” here, at all.

    File-sharing and piracy are not synonyms – not even for “practical purposes.” There are tons of files being shared that are not infringing.

    As file sizes – for what is predominantly video on the torrent sites – for higher quality versions increase, sharers are using more data while sharing fewer files.

    Music file sharing IS down. HD movie and TV file sharing (which is not necessarily “piracy”) is up.

  12. JeffC

    Many LEGITIMATE files are shared and more are shared every day.
    This chart does not even specify P2P as the sole source for these numbers.
    All the Linux distributions are made available via BitTorrent, the company I work for distributed promotional video via Dropbox, and we have replaced FTP with sharing services.
    There are some seriously flawed conclusions and assertions made here.
    I am not claiming to know whether piracy is up or down, but without some more details, this is just not making a convincing case to me.
    And throwing VPN use in there is a strawman argument – many people are concerned about security both personally and for their business traffic; that, combined with more affordability and ease of use make it more popular than ever.
    Video revenue being down?
    Being able to use Netflix for a few bucks a month for a huge library of content perhaps has something to do with that, and Hulu, Amazon, etc etc.
    This is little more than a thinly-veiled advert for some modern-day ambulance chasing trolls.

    • FarePlay

      As a somewhat disappointed paid subscriber to Netflix, I wouldn’t characterize their offerings as huge.

      I must say, we always we see the same pro-piracy propaganda, over and over again.

      1. Discredit the source
      2. Discredit the assumptions
      3. blame the record labels
      4. There is more music than ever
      5. CDs are $18.
      6. Paying $18 for one song is ……
      7. YouTube
      8. File sharing with friends is different
      9. Music today sucks
      10. Touring is growing. No, ticket prices are growing.

      • jw

        It’s insulting for you to suggest that Netflix isn’t fucking amazing. Four years ago? Sure. But now it’s a goddamned schmorgesborg, & their original content is up there with HBO & Showtime. If you’re not please with Netflix for $8 a month, then you’ve got real issues.

        Either that or you’re just repeating an argument from 4 years ago. (Wouldn’t put it past you.)

        • Anonymous

          “it’s a goddamned schmorgesborg”

          Absolutely. If you prefer TV series and really bad movies.

          (OK, Apocalypse Now is available. So is Apocalypse Now. Not to mention Apocalypse Now. Continue watching for Anonymous: Apocalypse Now. Top picks for Anonymous: Apocalypse Now. Trending Now: Apocalypse Now. Recently added: Apocalypse Now. Watch it again: Apocalypse Now. Because you watched Apocalypse Now here is Apocalypse Now. Suspense films: Apocalypse Now. Critically-acclaimed films: Apocalypse Now. Based on your interest in Apocalypse Now you may also want to watch Apocalypse Now.)

          • jw

            Maybe you don’t watch enough or watch interesting enough movies/tv shows for the algorithm to give you good recs. Do you rate the movies you watch/have seen? And do you keep a watchlist?

            If all you want is blockbuster releases, that’s your own fault for being basic. But for any reasonably interesting person, there’s loads to watch. More than I have time for, anyhow.

          • FarePlay

            JW…. I use search, more than your f…..ing software generated recommendations. I prefer to make my own choices, whether it be film, music, literature, etc. If you’re so busy, how do you know what Netflix offers anyway?

            Most of the things I look for on Netflix are not there. And frankly I like that, because I end up paying for great work and frankly that’s okay with me. If you haven’t figured it out, I’m artist centric, not consumer centric.

            Of course, everyone wants the great stuff for nothing, but unfortunately the great stuff doesn’t get made if it’s a losing proposition. And you don’t need to tell me, again, about all the stuff YOU pay for.

          • Anonymous

            “Most of the things I look for on Netflix are not there”

            Same here. 🙁

            “I’m artist centric, not consumer centric”

            Same same…

          • jw

            You’re using Netflix wrong, FairPay.

            Only a sociopath would walk into a rental store with 7,000+ titles & say, “You don’t have Independence Day? No, I don’t need your f…cking recommendations. I’m very disappointed in your service. C’mon, Barbra, let’s get out of here.”

          • FarePlay

            You’re making the assumption that I don’t use all the options. Go annoy someone else.

          • ninjaflapjack

            If you want to watch a blockbuster, buy the goddamn dvd, then you don’t have to worry about anything except enjoying the experience. Enjoy your beanbag chairs at work.

      • superduper

        You’re right FarePlay, that’s a good summary. It’s shocking to me how similar pro-piracy arguments are to pro-streaming arguments. It’s basically the same.

      • Me2

        11. Musicians and the industry are failing to adapt.

          • Me2

            I was just adding to FarePlay’s list of tech apologist myths (hence the 11.). Nothing to be sad about unless your’e grooveshark… I thought your going broke comment was intended as a humorous rub to such rhetoric.

  13. Anonymous

    Looks like Grooveshark is back, sort of, in the form of StreamSquid. It may as well be Grooveshark, as prior Grooveshark users only need to enter their old Grooveshark user names and import all of their old Grooveshark playlists they thought were gone forever.

    StreamSquid is free too, and claims to be legal, google streamsquid and read all about it.

    • FarePlay

      Sneaky, you got the pirate link in masquerading as a comment in a well read music blog. You even didn’t include the actual link, because you know Uncle Paul filters those.

      Every website whether it is Youtube or Streamshit claims to be legal, as long as they use the take down notification work around.

      “Looks like Grooveshark is back, sort of, in the form of Streamshit. It may as well be Grooveshark, as prior Grooveshark users only need to enter their old Grooveshark user names and import all of their old Grooveshark playlists they thought were gone forever.

      Streamshit is free too, and claims to be legal, google streamshit and read all about it.”


  14. Anonymous

    “I believe that the needle is starting to move against piracy”

    Agree, it’s entirely acceptable for artists to be anti-theft today (and it was absolutely impossible ten years ago).

  15. Anonymous

    Nothing will change until copyright law is enforced again. And Google pays politicians a lot of money to make sure that doesn’t happen.

  16. T

    It’s mainly flicks yea, still contributes to devaluation of music. In other news, google market cap increase of 65 billion in one day based on favorable reports on clicked ads and outlook of clicked ads on Youtube. Youtube.

  17. clive davis

    great article. since the napsterization of the music industry 20 years ago, its been a downhill slope for all of the industry, from musicians to studios, to record companies, etc. now you get crap one hit wonders, and over compressed roland 808 drum machine with nonsense spoken over it…

  18. Versus

    What is to be done, at the legislative and collective level?

    We should not have to play whack-a-mole with the ineffective DMCA, or pay out of our own empty pockets for private policing as this service offers. There must be real laws and real enforcement, including real penalties and compensation for the losses.

    So: How to achieve this?

    • Anonymous

      Music industry, film industry, publishing industry, software industry etc. need to form one single group that agrees to collectively treat political candidates that don’t support intellectual property rights… to a mess of very bad publicity, and openly support their opponent.

    • Anonymous

      The only way is to ban computers and the Internet. That’s what caused piracy. With hundreds of billions dollars on the line, literally nobody has found a way to fix the piracy problem since the development of the Internet. This says that providing Internet access and solving piracy are mutually incompatible goals.

  19. Kernel Angus

    “Six strikes”is working. I can feel it! Can you feel It?

  20. Anonymous

    Curing cancer is far more tractable and realistic then stopping piracy.

  21. Mr.Van

    File sharing is up. Sure. It’s this new thingy called cloud computing brought to you by Apple (iCloud), Google (Drive), BOX, Dropbox, WeTransfer and many many more great services out there. Hard drives of my computers have the OS, some cache files etc but all my work, entertainment and digital assets are in the cloud. What’s wrong about that?

  22. Inquisitive

    While one could say pirating has “increased”, the population with access to download has as well. I wonder if the percentage to pirating is a greater, smaller or at a similar ratio compared to population/ internet access statistics between the early 00’s vs. now. Pirating sucks… but then, artists should create art that moves patrons to give. If art is not emotionally moving or creating some kind of benefit other than audio wallpaper… then the artists need to dig deeper to get a monetary form of appreciation, rather than a pirated download type of ‘thanks’.

  23. Somebody

    From what I see here, the stats shown, the “proofs,” seem to be based solely on the AMOUNT of data shared. Did someone take the time to figure in the fact that file SIZES in general, especially for things like games and movies, etc., have increased greatly over the last several years…? This kind of methodology seems to me to be on the same level as the overly simplistic formula that x-many downloads equals x-amount of lost sales. And yeah, I know that some other stats are thrown out there, but even some of them are suspect, especially when it comes to evaluating their causes – in other words, there’s usually no “proof” that everyone would agree on that draws a direct correlation between diminishing profits and file sharing. When you talk about electronic home video revenue dropping since 2007, for example, what all exactly falls under the umbrella of “electronic home video”? I imagine TV subscriptions would be included there, but one can’t point only to piracy to explain why so many people are dropping their TV subscriptions. Maybe the fact that cable price hikes have far outpaced the rate of inflation for years has something to do it with it, to suggest just one explanation. And then what about other statistics that show exactly the opposite trend. I can look over at statista.com, for example, and see a clear upper trend of electronic home video revenue in the United States from 2015 to 2019, and Pricewaterhouse predicts that over-the-top streaming revenue will grow from 6.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2015 to 12.6 billion in 2019. It goes on and on. The take-away is you should remain open-minded and critical about these kind of “proofs.”

  24. wkshprez

    If piracy is going to stop, it has to stop at the source. I once witnessed someone who worked directly for a well known movie production company GIVE a copy of the unreleased movie to another someone, who, I later found out, was selling that very movie. If it’s going to come from the production houses themselves, then they need to start there, on the inside.

  25. Peachtre

    I just came across this site and have had a good read of both the article and comments…..

    A few things I’d like to add my 2 cents worth to…

    1. First of all, piracy has been around forever – copying from album to cassette is one that comes to mind.
    2. Piracy cannot be stopped, just brought to a point where it is only that small 1% doing it. Even with DRM, copies can be made of music by recording them on analogue equipment.
    3. Do the artists and people in the industry deserve reward for their work? 100% they do.
    4. My Solution – reintroduce DRM. With most people using smart technology such as phones and home entertainment, and in car devices to play and buy their music, they are less reliant on CD players, which was the main cause of DRM problems previously. Yes, some will still find a way around it. But something needs to be done.
    5. Not all file sharing is piracy – Most Linux distributions, windows updates as of Windows 10, World of Warcraft updates and many others are done with bit torrent file sharing technology.

    As I said, my 2 cents….

  26. Publisher

    Once again…all about how horrible it all is….now use my service and I’ll help you. Ugh. I only read these articles now to laugh at it.

  27. Publisher


  28. Versus

    Ready to quit. Our recently released album was pirated massively already on the DAY it was released. The top search engine results were pirate sites, with full album downloads at 1 click, not even requiring registration or any effort on the (ab)user’s part. The piracy sites ranked above the official artist site, iTunes page for the album, etc. Spent hours doing DMCA but we all know how ineffective that is, and the damage is already done.

    It’s heartbreaking. You put so much labor into creating the music, and then it’s immediately stolen.

  29. KcidKcus

    Seeing how the entire media/entertainment industry is one of the biggest contributors in the turning of our nation into a modern-day Sodom, I cannot shed even a tear for them loosing money due to piracy. If they insist in spreading their degeneracy throughout our nation, they at least should not make a profit by doing so.

  30. J-Man

    Most of those downloaders would never buy the albums anyways, so it’s not like they lost a sale because they got it for free, and they may have found an artist that they may never knew about before, and then bought their albums…
    I myself have over the years(in my 40’s) bought 800+ cassettes, 1000+ CDs, and 1000+ DVDs I’ve more than paid my share to the entertainment industry, one thing that really pissed me off is buying a new album because I heard the first single released and really liked it, so I would buy the album, and find that the only worthwhile song was that first single and the rest was garbage…. I’ve now cut my buying to 1-2 albums per year vs 1-5 per month(a weekly trip to HMV to see/hear what’s new).

  31. B

    Volume of pirated material is a pointless metric. Files have become bigger as technology has allowed for greater quality audio and video. What should be examined is the rate of piracy. How many people are pirating? How often?

  32. Dennis

    i gave up on p2p a long time ago and use software like music mp3 downloader..i don’t know if software like this will be eventually banned or whatever but i know i’ve been using it since 2011 ..a one time charge for it and i’m constantly finding music that is hard to find..also new stuff by new artists is easy to find..one click.the software scours the internet for free music (mp3 files)and collects them and puts them in a list..much like in frostwire,etc,you can see the artists and songtitles and then click on what you want and download..it scours you tube as well collects mp3 links from all other sites ..I paid a one time fee of 30 bucks for it in 2011 and been using it since ..it finds almost all i search for..i also download from mp3million.com which charges only 10 cents per track..sometimes 9cents///downloded hundreds of cd’s there(80’s and current ).I download more from mp3million.com than the the music mp3 downloader..Some people still bitch about mp3million.com just because of it’s 10 cents a track..well hey..it’s legal..some people just have to bitch about something ya know?? i don’t know if softwar like music mp3 downloader is illegal but i believe it is,as i’ve never read online that it’s not and i’ve googled for reviews and comments about it and software liken to it
    and have found none.

  33. Dennis

    i meant to say above,that i believe music mp3 downloader is NOT illegal to use,as i have never read such online about it or liken software

  34. Dennis

    i meant to say above,that i believe music mp3 downloader is NOT illegal to use,as i have never read such online about that software or software liken to it.

  35. Leo

    I will NEVER do anything it take to allow any type of hip hop culture be it music tv or movies, to continue to exist. I will do my very best to make sure it BURNS. I hope that in the next coming weeks as Trump takes the oval office that hip hop culture and it’s people begin to decrease rapidly. I hope the hip hop cultured people either take a one way trip to another part of the planet or just simply slice their own throats.

  36. Mark

    Apologies for coming late to this debate but, the ‘right’s holders’ do have property rights in their work which must be respected, and paid for by those seeking to use it.
    The main problem appears to be cost, why, in 2006, when I wanted to download an Aerosmith album, should a legal download, with greatly reduced cost to the right’s holder, be costing £11.40 when the CD was going to cost me £9.00, complete with cover, CD and other product necessities? The download would have cost me the ‘cost’ plus the price of running my PC to obtain the music.
    If the right’s holders significantly reduced their charges to realistic ones, they could make a profit, reduce piracy and provide a service to those illegally downloading, the problem for the right’s holders is greed.