New Delhi: With 6.5 billion visits, India ranked third in the world for access to hacking websites in 2021, according to a report by Akamai Technologies, a cybersecurity and services company. cloud. The United States is number one while Russia is ranked number 2 for visiting hacking sites.
India was the main source of traffic for websites showing pirated movies and also ranked first for music piracy. Media experts said digital penetration has made piracy harder to track and control, especially when websites operate outside Indian jurisdiction. Platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram have made it easier for movies and songs to circulate, and websites often make minor changes to URLs to take on different avatars when flagged or blocked. However, unlike many other countries, there is no provision for claiming damages for pirated content in India.
According to the report titled “Piracy in the Outfield”, global demand for piracy reached 3.7 billion between January and September 2021. A majority of consumers (61.5%) directly access pirated material, while 28.6 % of them are looking for it. The United States and Russia are the top sites for hacker visits with 13.5 billion and 7.2 billion respectively. The Best Pirated Movies of the Year Include Monster Movies Godzilla vs. Kong, Zack Snyder’s Justice League and the Marvel Superhero Movie Black Widow while the list of best pirated shows is led by the early seasons of Loki and Wanda Vision.
“Piracy in India has been a problem for decades, with movies, TV and music being the main source of entertainment in the country. Illegal downloading of movies before their theatrical release is a common form of piracy. With the current pandemic and the drastic shift to OTT, piracy has only provided illicit and easy access to valuable content. Hacking is a growing problem, with an overall increase of 16% over the previous nine months,” said Sidharth Pisharoti, regional vice president, India and South Asia, Akamai Technologies. Digital hackers have taken advantage of consumer demand to view content from home. , as well as growing internet consumption and easy access at low cost, he added.
Piracy is more prevalent in India than in developed markets due to late release of premium content, leading consumers to access it through unauthorized sources, said Tanu Banerjee, a partner at law firm Khaitan & Co. “The inability to pay the fees charged for access also drives consumers in India to watch pirated content. Also, there is generally a lack of consumer awareness of copyright,” Banerjee said. , a data company with information on global piracy, online piracy increased by 62% in India in March 2020, compared to February 2020, she added.
While films recorded in theaters have lost popularity due to the poor quality of pirated content, piracy in the world of online streaming works in several ways. It is either carried out through illegally rebroadcast live event broadcasts or through legitimate streaming websites offered for free or at low cost through URLs and mirror websites, Banerjee said.
“Pirates operating such services generate revenue largely through advertisements and by selling user information they collect when users visit their sites. or converting other types of streaming media, most often YouTube videos to mp3 files,” Banerjee said.
Filmmakers or TV stations have often resorted to “John Doe” injunctions to fight piracy, said Siddharth Mahajan, a partner at law firm Athena Legal. John Doe is a legal remedy against unknown persons in cases where the infringer is unknown or untraceable or where an infringement is anticipated but has not yet been found.
“These websites can still be blocked by court orders, but the challenge arises when they appear in new avatars or if the player is not based in India at all,” Mahajan said. Additionally, several platforms like Telegram and WhatsApp where hacked impressions are circulating claim they are protected by end-to-end encryption and cannot leak user information, Mahajan added.
Ranjana Adhikari, partner, media, entertainment and games with IndusLaw’s TMT Practice Group, said the general perception among users of pirated content that piracy is a “victimless” crime primarily fuels this activity.
“Users of pirated content believe that the creator will anyway be sufficiently compensated by other legal channels and by those who pay for the content so that a few illegal downloads will not harm anyone. Additionally, most disputes in India by copyright holders are directed towards platforms that facilitate access and exchange of pirated content and there are hardly any cases of action brought against consumers. and the broadcasters of pirated content on these platforms,” Adhikari said.
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