Digital Content Piracy Is on the Rise

Digital piracy is on the rise and isn’t expected to slow down any time soon, according to a report from piracy-focused research firm MUSO. 

In 2022, pirating films increased by about 39%, compared with 2021, while visits to piracy websites to watch TV shows rose by about 9%, the report said. Piracy is also expected to continue to rise throughout 2023. 

“This trend continues to be a major issue for the industry, significantly impacting the revenues and livelihoods of all involved – particularly smaller, independent creators – and damaging the wider economy,” the report said. 

In 2019, the US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center reported that piracy costs the US film and TV industry between $29 billion and $71 billion, annually. 

MUSO attributes the rise in piracy to a few factors, including economic pressures. In 2022, many streaming platforms, like Netflix and Disney Plus, increased their prices. Netflix also announced that it would start cracking down on password sharing after it reported losing nearly 1 million subscribers in the second quarter.

MUSO also said it can be argued that people who pirate content are the most dedicated fans of certain content and that understanding piracy trends could help film and TV companies make better decisions on content strategy.

The Copia Institute published a study in 2015 that showed regulating content isn’t what stops piracy in the long term. “The evidence is quite strong that greater innovation… appears to lead to noticeable and long-lasting reductions in infringement,” the study said. “If the industry is serious about increasing digital revenue and decreasing piracy, its efforts should shift away from pushing anti-piracy laws, and towards enabling and encouraging greater innovation in the form of new services.”

For more, check out how to save money on some streaming services and how the party’s over for streaming TV.

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