Study: Pirates too lazy for BitTorrents

Posted by Mike Luttrell

Despite all the hoopla over illegal BitTorrent sites, that's not where the majority of piracy activity is taking place. In fact, despite huge efforts to curb it, the availability of direct downloads continues to fuel the most online piracy.

The study comes from MarkMonitor, an online company focused on "brand protection" for enterprise clients. The company researched three of the most popular online sites known for illegal video distribution.

Among rapidshare.com, megavideo.com, and megaupload.com, there are more than 21 billion pageviews per year. That's a staggering rate. Sites like these are notorious for letting users upload any files they want without any screening process. Through legal loopholes, it's up to copyright owners to notify the site if any copyrighted content has been made available. Until then, no action can be brought against them.

What's even more brazen about all this is the uploaders are making no attempt to cover up their illegally shared content. The study found the majority of pirated movies and TV shows are available as direct downloads, not BitTorrents.

In total, the study said digital piracy sites generate more than 53 billion pageviews per year, a statistic that MPAA president Bob Pisano called "mind-boggling."

"The findings in the MarkMonitor report on online piracy and counterfeiting are a call to arms for both government and the private sector," said Pisano in a statement. "At a time of economic hardship, government and industry simply cannot stand by and allow businesses built on theft to flourish unimpeded and thereby handicap legitimate innovation and job creation."

The study also highlighted how much more prevalent digital piracy is compared to physical product counterfeiting. Websites that are known to sell fake drugs and luxury goods only clock in about 36 million visits per year, more than 90% less than digital piracy sites.