Not all that long ago, downloading pirated movies was something left to technically savvy folks who knew their way around a BitTorrent client. Originally launched in 2014, Popcorn Time, often described as a Netflix for pirates, instantly changed that by providing an easy to use and intuitive platform that lets users stream movies from within a web browser or a smarpthone app.
The biggest barrier for cord cutters today remains the same as it was a month ago and a year ago: live TV. Eliminating your standard pay TV subscription means relying on on-demand services such as Netflix and Hulu, which are both fantastic solutions for streaming TV shows and movies. But with only a few exceptions such as HBO Now and WatchESPN that are only available to a limited number of people who subscribe to certain services, cord cutters cannot watch most live broadcasts.
Now, however, there’s a pirate TV service that aims to change that — and as of Monday, it’s home to well over 500 channels of free streaming content. More →
Over the past few months we’ve documented HBO’s ongoing struggle to battle Game of Thrones piracy, an arguably winless battle that has seen the cable television network go after not only bars, but individual pirates as well.
In a sign that Netflix is now officially in the big leagues itself, the online streaming site is facing a piracy battle all its own. CNN reports that Netflix is trying to clamp down on the ever-increasing number of sites which are streaming illegal copies of the recently released third season of Orange is the New Black.
Et tu, Google?
With piracy running rampant these days, we’re starting to see content producers and owners going after pirates via each suspected individual’s specific ISP. HBO, for instance, began employing this strategy not too long ago in a rather unsuccessful effort to quell Game of Thrones piracy.
The messages that content producers relay to end users through individual ISPs can vary. In some instances it’s just a warning. In others, automatic fines with settlement demands are levied. While most ISPs have no problem passing along warnings to suspected pirates, most opt not to pass along threatening settlement demands. Even Comcast, which is no stranger to questionable customer service practices, sides with the consumer on this particular issue.
But Google, oddly enough, has chosen to take a different approach.
History has shown that any effort aimed at eradicating piracy via brute force is destined to fail. Arguably, the only way to truly stem piracy is to, quite simply, embrace the notion that piracy exists and subsequently do everything in your power to deliver a product or service that’s fundamentally more appealing than scouring the depths of BitTorrent.
Apple successfully implemented this strategy when it introduced the iTunes Music Store, instantly making the digital download experience a much safer and simpler endeavor than acquiring music through illicit means.
Not only is HBO’s Game of Thrones the most torrented show on TV today, the show’s season 4 finale has the bittersweet distinction of being the most pirated episode in TV history.
Historically, HBO has played nice with pirates. Whether its turning a blind eye towards BitTorrent or even ignoring the widespread sharing of HBO Go credentials, some folks at HBO, to their credit, view piracy as a tool to drum up even more interest in an already successful show.
To wit, Game of Thrones Director David Petarca once said of rampant GOT piracy, “I think it really raises the profile of the show and raises the profile of HBO in general… It really helps the show’s cultural buzz, and it does not impact the bottom line because HBO has more than enough money to keep making the show.”
But even HBO has to draw the line somewhere.
Hollywood hasn’t had much luck curtailing movie piracy over the past several years, but a new draft of anti-piracy legislation could be a frightening sign of things to come as studios and executives run out of options. TorrentFreak reports that the Australia Screen Association is heading up the draft, but Disney, Paramount, Sony, Universal and the Motion Picture Association are just a few of the other names attached to the legislation. More →
The British justice system can occasionally deliver as stern messages as any Texas or Mississippi municipality. A judge in the idyllic town of Wolverhampton has just sentenced a 25-year old man named Philip Danks to 33 months in prison for recording “Fast and Furious 6″ at a movie theater and distributing a pirated version of the film. The judge explained his harsh decision by referring to the “bold, arrogant and cocksure” manner of the accused. That seems to be an apt description, since Mr. Danks promoted his illicit endeavor in his Facebook profile. More →
I have stolen music. A massive amount of music, in fact. Over the past decade or so, I have illegally downloaded hundreds of songs from various file-sharing networks. Even thousands, most likely.
In the past couple of years, however, I have completely stopped stealing music as my listening habits shifted from album-based listening to services like Pandora and Spotify. The painful irony here, however, is that recording artists and music labels earn far less money from me now that I have gone legit than they did when I was a thief.
After a report on Tuesday detailing a new legal initiative on online piracy in the U.K. claimed that the local government has decriminalized illegal downloads, TorrentFreak has set the record straight on the matter, saying that torrenting movies, music, games and any other kind of online content will be just as illegal in the future as it is now. More →
A new study looking at the relationship between movie piracy and Hollywood revenues has found that the mass illegal downloads movie studios complain about while spending vast resources to put a stop to, are not that relevant. TorrentFreak reveals that economist Koleman Strumpf has conducted a tremendous amount of research before releasing his determination – that movie piracy is not harmful to Hollywood. He looked at data from 150 blockbuster movies that were released over a period of seven years and, and drew data from a popular BitTorrent tracker as well as revenue projections from the Hollywood Stock Exchange. More →