Disney+ Launched and Pirates Love It, Especially Mandalorian

Disney+ Launched and Pirates Love It, Especially Mandalorian

Two years ago, when Disney announced that it would launch its own streaming service, we mused that this would keep piracy relevant.

Yes, another paid streaming service would further fragment the legitimate market. This could motivate some to keep pirating, at least part-time.

More recently research has confirmed that this is indeed a warranted concern as people have limited budgets, but money isn’t the only problem.

When Disney confirmed that the initial rollout would be limited to the United States, Canada and the Netherlands, the piracy lure only became stronger. Star Wars fans in most parts of the world currently can’t watch the highly anticipated Mandalorian series, unless they pirate.

With this in mind, we kept a close eye on the official Disney+ launch this week. There was an enormous amount of media coverage which, undoubtedly, led to a lot of legitimate subscriptions. But, at the same time, pirate sites were buzzing too.

Shortly after Disney+ opened shop the first pirated releases started to spread. First through private communities and then over at public torrent sites, cyberlockers, and not-so-legal streaming platforms. After a few hours, pirated copies of the Mandalorian were everywhere.

This doesn’t really come as a surprise. Disney+ currently uses Widevine encryption, which is similar to what other streaming services use. Downloading or ‘ripping’ these videos doesn’t appear to be too hard.

And indeed, a quick glance at various pirate sites reveals that the first Mandalorian episode, which is exclusive to Disney+, is widely available in various formats.

Over the past two days, Mandalorian has already become the most pirated TV-show, with hundreds of thousands of downloads and streams, if not more. While it is far from becoming the next “Game of Thrones,” the potential is certainly there.

The fact that Disney+ isn’t available in many countries is similar to HBO’s situation when Game of Thrones first came out. This serves as a piracy incentive. After all, people who want to watch Mandalorian in the UK, Australia, and elsewhere, have few other options than to pirate.

The limited release of Disney+ may actually breed some new pirates. Even worse, there is a chance that many of these pirates may not go legal when the streaming service officially launches in their country.

For now, Disney’s anti-piracy efforts appear to be focused elsewhere though. The company has sent takedown requests for thousands of URLs that host or link to unauthorized copies of Mandalorian. This includes notices that were sent to Google, with requests to delist these pages.

As one of the largest entertainment companies in the world, these piracy concerns shouldn’t come as a surprise to Disney. The company probably weighed the pros and cons of its actions, including the limited geographical release, as well as entering an already fragmented streaming landscape.

In today’s online streaming business, piracy is a given. Disney probably believes that running its own streaming platform will ultimately bring in more money. Piracy or not.

They may very well be right, but it will happen at the expense of others. That may include some of Disney’s competitors, but also consumers who are not willing to pirate, and those who can’t afford another subscription.

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IPTV Supplier Omniverse Agrees to Pay $50 Million in Piracy Damages

IPTV Supplier Omniverse Agrees to Pay $50 Million in Piracy Damages

In February, several major Hollywood studios filed a lawsuit against Omniverse One World Television.

Under the flag of anti-piracy group ACE, the companies accused Omniverse and its owner Jason DeMeo of supplying of pirate streaming channels to various IPTV services.

Omniverse sold live-streaming services to third-party distributors, such as Dragon Box and HDHomerun, which in turn offered live TV streaming packages to customers. According to ACE, the company was a pirate streaming TV supplier, offering these channels without permission from its members.

Omniverse disagreed with this characterization and countered that it did everything by the book. It relied on a deal from the licensed cable company Hovsat, which has a long-standing agreement with DirecTV to distribute a broad range of TV-channels with few restrictions.

Omniverse

As time went on, however, it transpired that the streaming provider was clearly worried about the legal threat. After several of its distributors distanced themselves from the service, Omniverse decided to wind down its business.

The streaming provider also filed a third-party complaint (pdf) against Hovsat for indemnification and breach of contract, among other things. Omniverse believed that it was properly licensed and wants Hovsat to pay the damages for any alleged infringements if that was not the case.

That there are damages became crystal clear yesterday, when ACE announced that it had obtained a consent judgment against Omniverse. Both parties have agreed to settle the matter with the streaming provider committing to pay a $50 million settlement.

“Damages are awarded in favor of Plaintiffs and against Defendants,
jointly and severally, in the total amount of fifty million dollars,” the proposed judgment reads.

The agreement also includes a permanent injunction that prevents Omniverse and its owner Jason DeMeo from operating the service and being involved in supplying or offering pirate streaming channels in any other way.

The damages amount of $50 million is a substantial figure. In the past, however, we have seen that the public figure can be substantially higher than what’s agreed in private. In any case, Omniverse may hold Hovsat accountable, as previously suggested.

Karen Thorland, Senior Vice President at the Motion Picture Association, which has a leading role in the ACE coalition, is pleased with the outcome.

“This judgment and injunction are a major win for creators, audiences, and the legitimate streaming market, which has been undermined by Omniverse and its ‘back office’ piracy infrastructure for years,” Thorland, says

Over the past years, ACE has built a steady track record of successful cases against IPTV providers and services. In addition to Omniverse, it also helped to shut down SetTV, Dragon Box, TickBox, Vader Streams, and many third-party Kodi addons.

The consent judgment and permanent injunction (pdf) have yet to be signed off by the court but since both parties are in agreement, that’s mostly a formality.

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‘Copyright’ Sting Targeting 15-Year-Old Backfires With Arrest Warrants & Record Sales

‘Copyright’ Sting Targeting 15-Year-Old Backfires With Arrest Warrants & Record Sales

Krathong float (credit)

Loi Krathong is an annual festival celebrated in Thailand and some neighboring countries during which ‘krathong’ (decorated baskets) are floated on a river.

These beautiful items are often made by locals looking to generate relatively small sums to help support their families and in some cases fund their education. Sadly, there are others who see the creations as an opportunity to generate cash for themselves in an entirely more sinister fashion.

According to local media reports, earlier this month a 15-year-old girl known as ‘Orm’ or ‘Orn’ (we’ll settle on the former) was contacted on Facebook by a stranger who placed an order for 136 krathong floats. The order carried specific instructions for them to be adorned with faces of cartoon characters owned by Japanese company San-X.

When Orm took 30 completed floats to a local mall, at the request of a supposed “copyright agent” she was reportedly arrested by police for ‘copyright infringement’. She was told to pay a fine of 50,000 baht, around US$1,650, a figure that was later negotiated down to 5,000 baht, US$165, by her grandfather, a former policeman.

“After receiving the order, I made krathong baskets from 8am to 1.30am the next day so that I could fill the order, only to be arrested,” Orm said.

“Normally I do not make any basket with a copyrighted character. This customer stressed they wanted copyrighted characters. After being arrested I cried all night because I have never faced such legal action before.”

The action against the teenager provoked outcry in the community after the chief of a local police station said it had worked with the ‘copyright agent’ on the sting operation, Bangkok Post reported.

However, all was not what it seemed. TAC Consumer PLC, which represents San-X, issued a statement stating that it had not participated in the operation against the teenager and had assigned one of its lawyers to the case. But worse was to come.

After news of the scandal spread, other victims of the scam came forward, saying they too had been arrested and settled for even larger amounts having borrowed the money from family members. They identified the ‘copyright agent’ as the same man who targeted the teenager.

When news reached local TV, a reporter helped to track down the ‘copyright agent’, who was discovered to be a local motorcycle taxi driver called ‘Nan’ whose wife sells meatballs in the area.

Yesterday, as pressure mounted against local police, a commander announced that after 40 similar complaints were filed against the ‘copyright agent’, they would be seeking arrest warrants by the end of the week. While that news will be celebrated in its own right, the knock-on effect of all the publicity is doing wonders for Orm’s work.

After making 360 floats to sell during the Loy Krathong festival, people queued up to buy them. They sold out in an hour, making herself around 8,110 baht in profit, around US$267.00. She told local media she was “delighted” by the response having sold just 30 in previous years.

Half of the money will go towards her school fees and the rest will go to her family to help with household expenses.

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Hollywood Praises Australia’s Anti-Piracy Laws, But More Can Be Done

Hollywood Praises Australia’s Anti-Piracy Laws, But More Can Be Done

For years on end, entertainment industry insiders have regularly portrayed Australia as a piracy-ridden country.

However, after several legislative updates, the tide appears to have turned. This is the conclusion reached by the Motion Picture Association (MPA) in a recent report.

The industry group, which is largely made up of Hollywood studios, along with the recently added Netflix, continuously monitors Australia’s anti-piracy efforts. In recent years, things have been going in the right direction.

A short summary of its findings was recently reported to the US Government as part of the annual trade barriers consultation.

The MPA’s overview is generally a summary of copyright challenges and shortcomings around the world. However, Australia is one of the few exceptions when it comes to anti-piracy enforcement. In fact, the industry group is rather positive about the progress the country has made.

“Australia has developed excellent tools to fight online piracy, including effective laws allowing for no-fault injunctive relief against ISPs and ‘search engine service providers’,” the MPA writes in its report.

The report points out that in recent years piracy rates have declined significantly Down Under. Pirate site blocking and other measures have helped to boost interest in legal subscription services, including Netflix, it suggests.

The MPA is also positive about recent developments regarding takedown notices. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is currently considering the introduction of a mandatory takedown notice scheme, one that would be stricter than the DMCA-style standard which is common today.

“This would include procedures for urgent take downs (extending to pre-release or new-release films and TV shows as well as live entertainment content), as well as ‘stay down’ obligations to ensure that content already identified as infringing does not quickly re-appear,” the MPA notes.

The Hollywood-backed group supports this initiative and adds that companies who breach the new takedown standard should face “meaningful” penalties.

Aside from the positive remarks in Australia, the MPA informs the US Government that there is room for improvement as well. For example, the police could offer more help with piracy-related investigations, something that’s lacking today.

In addition, the MPA is worried about an ongoing Copyright Modernization consultation where further exceptions to copyright are being considered. This includes new definitions of fair dealing or fair use, which are seen as a threat by the industry group.

“This consultation risks undermining the current balance of IP protection in Australia that has fueled the country’s creative industries, and could create significant market uncertainty and effectively weaken Australia’s infrastructure for intellectual property protection,” the MPA states.

Closing out the list is a recommendation to propose tough anti-camcording piracy laws. While fewer illegal recordings are sourced from Australia today, the current penalties for this activity are simply not enough to act as a proper deterrent, the group says.

The last request is far from new. The same demands have appeared in previous reports, as is the case with many of the recommendations throughout the MPA’s report, which are often copied verbatim year after year.

The full overview of the MPA’s trade barrier comments to the US Trade Representative is available here (pdf).

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Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week on BitTorrent – 11/11/19

Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week on BitTorrent – 11/11/19

This week we have three newcomers in our chart.

Dora and the Lost City of Gold is the most downloaded movie.

The data for our weekly download chart is estimated by TorrentFreak, and is for informational and educational reference only. All the movies in the list are Web-DL/Webrip/HDRip/BDrip/DVDrip unless stated otherwise.

RSS feed for the articles of the recent weekly movie download charts.

This week’s most downloaded movies are:
Movie Rank Rank last week Movie name IMDb Rating / Trailer
Most downloaded movies via torrents
1 (…) Dora and the Lost City of Gold 6.0 / trailer
2 (10) Joker (Subbed HDRip) 8.8 / trailer
3 (1) Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw 6.7 / trailer
4 (…) Primal 4.8 / trailer
5 (2) The Lion King 7.1 / trailer
6 (3) The King 7.4 / trailer
7 (5) Toy Story 4 8.1 / trailer
8 (4) Spider-Man: Far from Home 7.8 / trailer
9 (8) The Peanut Butter Falcon 7.9 / trailer
10 (…) Danger Close 7.4 / trailer

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Sci-Hub & Libgen Blocked By Austrian ISPs Following Elsevier Complaint

Sci-Hub & Libgen Blocked By Austrian ISPs Following Elsevier Complaint

For well over a decade, entertainment industry groups have been developing legal processes to have allegedly-infringing websites blocked at the ISP level.

The majority of these complaints have been initiated by movie and music companies but in recent years, other content distributors have sought similar blockades in order to protect their interests.

Publishing giant Elsevier has emerged as a major player with arch-rivals Sci-Hub (‘The Pirate Bay of Science’) and Libgen (Library Genesis) as its key targets. Late last week, Austrian ISP T-Mobile revealed that it had begun blocking several Sci-Hub and Libgen related domains following a supervisory procedure carried out by local telecoms regulator TKK.

The original complaint against more than two dozen domains was filed in the summer by Elsevier Ltd, Elsevier BV and Elsevier Inc. against rival ISP A1. The ISP took the decision to block the domains in July but due to concerns that blocking has the potential to breach net neutrality rules, it reported the case to TKK (Telekom-Control-Commission).

Early August, TKK launched a supervisory process and both A1 and Elsevier were asked to participate. In September, TKK informed the parties of the results of its investigation which determined that 24 of the 27 domains listed in the original blocking request (listed below) were “structurally infringing”.

In summary, the 24 domains either provided direct access to Sci-Hub or Libgen or provided proxy/mirror access to essentially the same content.

Three domains – libgen.io, lgmag.org and bookdescr.org – were determined to be either inaccessible during the process or didn’t carry content owned by Elsevier at the time. After notification from TKK, A1 confirmed that it had lifted its blocks against the three domains in question.

Following A1’s blocking of the listed domains, TKK says no end-users complained to the ISP that the blocks had been put in place or filed any official complaints with the telecoms regulator.

So, after analysis of the nature of the sites and their conduct, TKK therefore ruled (pdf) that blocking them at the ISP level would be the correct balance between the rights of Internet users and Elsevier’s rights to protect its intellectual property.

Over the border, Elsevier previously obtained a 2018 Sci-Hub-blocking order in Germany. In March 2019, several French ISPs were told to do the same after similar action. In September, a Danish court handed down a similar ruling.

The question remains, however, whether anti-piracy enforcement action alone will ever keep Sci-Hub down, particularly when universities are reconsidering their business dealings with Elsevier and making the platform more relevant than ever.

The full list of 24 domains blocked in Austria reads as follows:

gen.lib.rus.ec, sci-hub.tw, sci-hub.se, sci-hub.ren, sci-hub.be, sci-hub.shop, libgen.unblocked.win, libgen.unblocked.lc, libgen.unblocked.vet, libgen.unblocked.la, libgen.unblocked.li, libgen.unblocked.red, libgen.unblocked.tv, libgen.unblocked.cat, libgen.unblocked.uno, libgen.unblocked.ink, libgen.unblocked.at, libgen.unblocked.pro, libgen.unblocked.mx, libgen.unblocked.sh, libgen.unblocked.gdn, libgen.unblocked.pet, scihub.unblocked.lc, scihub.unblocked.vet

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Spammers Abuse Medium.com to Spread ‘Pirate’ Scams

Spammers Abuse Medium.com to Spread ‘Pirate’ Scams

Founded in 2012 by former Twitter CEO Evan Williams, online publishing platform Medium.com swiftly became the go-to place for many authors.

The site has featured works of renowned writers, politicians, high profile activists, major companies, as well as average Joes.

Today, Medium has millions of daily visitors, making it one of the 100 most visited websites in the world. The majority of these are drawn to the compelling and informative writings, but the site has proven a draw to scammy ‘pirates’ as well.

Every week, hundreds, if not thousands of articles appear that promise people the latest pirated movies and TV-shows. Whether it’s a high-definition copy of Joker, Terminator: Dark Fate, or Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, it’s available. Supposedly.

Here’s an example of a Joker movie that was promoted this week, but there are many more.

People who click on the links are often disappointed though. They typically point to a page where people can start a stream instantly, but after a generic intro, they are required to sign up for a “free account,” that requires a credit card for ‘validation’ purposes.

Needless to say, this isn’t a good idea. Aside from the obvious copyright issues, these services don’t promise what they offer. After all, many of the pirated films they advertise are not available in high-quality formats yet.

The goal of this strategy is to have these links show up high in search results. A site like Medium has a good reputation in search engines, and as a result, the articles promoting these scams are more visible in search results than the average pirate site.

This appears to be an effective strategy, especially since Google has started to push down results from known pirate platforms.

This practice is not new either. Many other reputable sites, including Facebook, Google Maps, Change.org, Steam, and others, have been abused in a similar fashion in the past.

TorrentFreak reached out to Medium and the company informed us that it’s a free and open platform that allows anyone to share stories and ideas. However, it takes swift action after any alleged infringements are reported.

“We fully comply with the DMCA and all other relevant copyright laws,” a Medium spokesperson said, pointing to its DMCA policy.

“When we discover bad actors, both through manual and automatic detection, they are assessed in terms of our policies and rules against those behaviors, and removed from Medium.”

These types of scams aren’t a major problem for copyright holders, as it will mostly result in disappointed and frustrated pirates. However, prospective pirates who fall for them may eventually be charged for something they didn’t sign up for.

For Medium this scam practice could lead to unexpected problems as well. Google received hundreds of takedown notices for Medium.com links over the past several weeks which, in theory, makes it a candidate for a downranking penalty. Unless Google reviews sites manually before applying a penalty, of course.

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ACE Hits Two More Pirate Streaming Sites, Seizes More Openload Domains

ACE Hits Two More Pirate Streaming Sites, Seizes More Openload Domains

After a standing start just over two years ago, the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment quickly became the most feared anti-piracy group on the planet.

Compromised of around three dozen entertainment companies, including the major Hollywood studios, Netflix and Amazon, the group now targets piracy on a global scale, sharing resources and costs to tackle infringement wherever it might be.

Last week the group took down Openload and Streamango, a dramatic and significant action by any standard. However, as documented here on several occasions (1,2,3), the anti-piracy group also shuts down smaller players with little to no fanfare. Today we can report that another two sites have joined the club.

The first, IPTVBox.plus, appears to have been a seller/reseller of IPTV services targeted at the Brazilian market. Its packages started off pretty cheaply, less than US$4.50 for around 1000 standard definition channels.

The ‘master’ package, however, offered an impressive 13,000 mixed SD, HD and ‘FullHD’ channels for around US$9.70 per month, almost double the price but still cheap by most standards.

IPTVBox.plus…..gone

Thanks to the intervention of ACE, however, the site’s domain is now in the hands of the MPA. A notice on the site informs visitors that the platform bit the dust for infringing copyright. The familiar timer then runs down to zero and diverts disappointed users to the ACE homepage for a lesson in copyright.

Finally, a dedicated streaming portal has also handed over its domain to ACE. PlanetaTVonlineHD.com first appeared online in 2015, streaming popular TV shows such as Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and Prison Break to a fairly sizeable audience.

But now, without any official announcement from ACE, the show is clearly over for the TV show streaming platform.

Like so many other similar sites and services, its domain now redirects to the ACE anti-piracy portal. What happened between the parties may never be known but it seems fairly obvious that the group’s influence convinced the site’s operator that continuing just wasn’t worth the trouble.

Finally, over the past week ACE has been taking control of more Openload, Streamango, and StreamCherry domains. We previously reported that Openload.co, oload.cc, oload.club, oload.download, openload.pw and oloadcdn.net had been seized, but more can be added to the list. They are:

StreamCherry.com, Oload.stream, fruithosted.net, oload.win, oload.life, oload.services, oload.xyz, oload.space, oload.biz, oload.vip, oload.tv, oload.monster, oload.best, oload.press, oload.live, oload.site, oload.network, oload.website, oload.online, olpair.com, and openload.status.

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Tech Companies Warn U.S. Against Harmful Copyright Laws Worldwide

Tech Companies Warn U.S. Against Harmful Copyright Laws Worldwide

In recent years many countries around the world have tightened their copyright laws to curb the threat of online piracy.

These new regulations aim to help copyright holders, often by creating new obligations and restrictions for Internet service providers that host, link to, or just pass on infringing material.

Rightsholders are happy with these developments, but many Silicon Valley giants and other tech companies see the new laws as threats. This was made clear again this week by the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and the Internet Association.

The two groups both submitted stark warnings to the US Trade Representative (USTR). The submissions were sent in response to a request for comments in preparation for the Government’s yearly report on foreign trade barriers.

The CCIA, which includes prominent members such as Amazon, Cloudflare, Facebook, and Google, lists a wide variety of threats, several of which are copyright-related.

One of the main problems is the increased copyright liability for online intermediaries. In the US, online services have strong safe harbor protections that prevent them from being held liable for users’ infringements, but in other countries, this is no longer the case, CCIA warns.

“Countries are increasingly using outdated Internet service liability laws that impose substantial penalties on intermediaries that have had no role in the development of objectionable content. These practices deter investment and market entry, impeding legitimate online services,” CCIA writes.

These countries include France, Germany, India, Italy, and Vietnam. In Australia, for example, several US platforms are excluded from liability protections, which goes against the U.S.-Australia Free Trade Agreement, CCIA notes.

Another major point of concern is the new EU Copyright Directive, which passed earlier this year. While individual member states have yet to implement it, it’s seen as a looming threat for US companies and users alike.

“[T]he recent EU Copyright Directive poses an immediate threat to Internet services and the obligations set out in the final text depart significantly from global norms. Laws made pursuant to the Directive will deter Internet service exports into the EU market due to significant costs of compliance,” CCIA writes.

“Despite claims from EU officials, lawful user activities will be severely restricted. EU officials are claiming that the new requirements would not affect lawful user activity such as sharing memes, alluding to the exceptions and limitations on quotation, criticism, review, and parody outlined in the text.”

The Internet Association also warns against the EU Copyright Directive in its submission. According to the group, which represents tech companies including Google, Reddit, Twitter, as well as Microsoft and Spotify, Europe’s plans are out of sync with US copyright law.

“The EU’s Copyright Directive directly conflicts with U.S. law and requires a broad range of U.S. consumer and enterprise firms to install filtering technologies, pay European organizations for activities that are entirely lawful under the U.S. copyright framework, and face direct liability for third-party content,” the Internet Association writes.

Aside from the EU plans, other countries such as Australia, Brazil, Colombia, India, and Ukraine are also proposing new “onerous” copyright liability proposals for Internet services. In many cases, these plans conflict with promises that were made under U.S. free trade agreements, the Internet Association writes.

“If the U.S. does not stand up for the U.S. copyright framework abroad, then U.S. innovators and exporters will suffer, and other countries will increasingly misuse copyright to limit market entry,” the group warns.

Both the CCIA and the Internet Archive urge the US Government to push back against these developments. They advise promoting strong and balanced copyright legislation, which doesn’t put US companies at risk when following US law.

While it makes sense that the US would back its owns laws and policies abroad, the comments made by both groups come at a time where changes to intermediary liability are on the agenda of local lawmakers as well.

Copyright holders see these foreign developments as inspiration, as they want increased liability for intermediaries. As such, MPAA recently asked lawmakers not to include current safe harbor language in future trade agreements.

This is also the advice of the House Judiciary Committee. While the committee isn’t taking a position on a future direction just yet, it wants to await current developments before porting current US liability exceptions into international deals.

The CCIA’s submission to the USTR is available here (pdf) and the Internet Association’s submission can be found here (pdf).

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Japan Pirate Site Traffic Collapsed 50% in Four Months, With a Little Help From Cloudflare

Japan Pirate Site Traffic Collapsed 50% in Four Months, With a Little Help From Cloudflare

During April 2018, the government in Japan introduced emergency websites blocking measures, seeking assistance from ISPs to block three pirate sites – Mangamura, AniTube! and MioMio.

Just four days later, one of the sites – giant manga platform Mangamura – suddenly called it quits, shutting itself down and creating a massive gap in the piracy market.

It transpired that a criminal investigation was underway into the activities of Mangamura, which eventually led to the arrest of the site’s alleged operator in Manilla, his deportation to Japan, and subsequent arrest by authorities there.

The gigantic scale of Mangamura has never been in question. However, a report published by the Motion Picture Association now reveals its importance not only on the pirate manga market, but also on the pirate market overall in Japan.

Starting with a list of 2,600 sites, the report – covering the period July 2017 to July 2019 – homes in on the most frequently accessed piracy sites/apps targeting Japan that offer movies, TV shows, anime, and manga content. Sites focusing exclusively on music, games, and porn were ruled out, leaving a balance of 1,447 ‘pirate’ sites.

The top 10 most highly-visited sites accounted for around 50% of visits to the 1,447, with the top 100 accounting for more than 90%. All sites with more than 100,000 visits per month (624 in total) were the main focus of the report.

In respect of Mangamura, the report classifies that now-defunct platform as an ‘online reading’ site, meaning that people viewed its content using a browser. The chart below shows the dramatic rise and fall of the niche the platform operated in, plotted against other forms of ‘pirate’ consumption.

The rise and fall of Mangamura

As the image shows, in addition to ‘online reading’ sites, all other types of ‘pirate’ consumption took a big hit around the same time that Mangamura shut down.

The report notes that the government’s urging of ISP blockades against Mangamura, Anitube, and MioMio “greatly affected the number of visits to other piracy sites”, resulting in an overall decrease in traffic. However, it appears that all three shut down before they could be blocked.

Nevertheless, the overall effect on the pirate markets detailed in the study appears to be significant, due to the shutdown of those major manga platforms and the government’s anti-piracy stance.

According to the report, in March 2018 the total number of monthly visits to the sample 624 sites was measured at 640 million. A month later, monthly visits had collapsed to just over 400 million. By June 2018, traffic had reduced further still, to a low of 320 million visits per month.

Since June 2018, there has only been a modest increase in traffic to the sample sites. Noting that overall levels of infringement are “still large”, the report states that current visits have increased by just 20 million, to an estimated 340 million per month.

Finally, no piracy report seems complete these days without Cloudflare getting a mention, and this one is no different.

While those who carried out the study were able to identify the ultimate hosting locations of 39% of the 624 pirate sites (top three hosting countries were the United States 9%, Japan 6%, and Netherlands 5%), 61% couldn’t be geolocated. Of these, 86% were ‘hidden’ behind Cloudflare’s services.

The interesting twist, however, is that in response to a request from Japanese publishers, it was Cloudflare that handed over information which allowed investigators to identify the operator of Mangamura, which ultimately led to his arrest and previously, the shutdown of the site.

The full report, ‘Study Benchmarking and Tracking Online Film & TV Piracy in Japan’, is available here (pdf)

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