3 positive initiatives in the fight against online piracy

Recently I’ve been encouraged by 3 initiatives that are moving the fight against online piracy in the right direction.  Is this the much needed start to encourage others to follow?

Online piracy, in particular, content redistribution, is a growing threat affecting content owners, broadcasters and operators.  Let’s look at these welcome initiatives:

Demoting pirate sites on internet search results
Google and Bing signed a voluntary code of conduct which comes into effect on 1st June 2017.  It’s the first of its kind in the U.K.  The code’s aim is to make it tougher for users to find illegal streaming and download sites via search engines.  Based on evidence of copyright infringement the offending sites will be demoted, leaving bona fide providers at the top of the search results.  The code supplements existing anti-piracy measures already in place such as site blocking.

Although the code will have some impact – it will be limited.  Nevertheless, it sets the right tone.  Why will it be limited?  Irdeto data shows that it is direct visits to these sites which far outweigh those via search engines.  Data from the top 5 pirate streaming sites and Torrent sites show the global average percentages to be:

Also the code doesn’t cover search services that are beyond the reach of British law.  The more jurisdictions that implement such a code, the fewer places pirates are able to hide.

Reviewing effectiveness of current legislation
Staying in the UK, the Intellectual Property Office have called for views on illicit IPTV streaming devices to see if there’s a need for legislative changes to deal with these devices.  In addition to the questions that seek to gain deeper understanding about the scale and nature of the problem, it also contains a common definition of such a device: its function, way its sold and advertised, etc.

This is a significant watershed.  After years of investigative experience, I’m used to legislation typically being years behind – playing catchup.  So, it’s encouraging to see the UK undertaking such an exercise.  They’re the first jurisdiction and I hope others will follow.

Amazon’s new preventative policy
Pirates have adapted.  They now use generic phrases in their ads on e-commerce sites e.g. fully loaded, to avoid being caught using legal rights owners’ logos or listing what content is available.  Amazon’s new policy makes it explicit that promoting, facilitating and enabling infringing or unauthorized access to copyright content is prohibited from sale on Amazon.  This first of its kind preventative measure aims to minimize the pirates promotional reach.  It’s a policy I hope the other e-Commerce sites will emulate.

Moving in the right direction
These 3 initiatives are encouraging steps.  But to effectively crack down on the growing piracy threat we need all industry players to move faster.  Pirates move at internet speed; we need to keep up!