We are more than half done with this year.
But that doesn’t mean copyright holder groups will give up their battle against internet piracy anytime soon.
In fact, if we’re talking about pace, then the copyright holder groups pace against punishing pirates and piracy sites has significantly increased.
The largest entertainment companies in the world are just starting to warm up though.
They have had enough of pirates and piracy websites.
And if this is just the beginning then we would not like to imagine what would become of pirates and piracy websites once these giant corporations start to flex their financial and legal muscles.
THere is a big question that is still unanswered though.
Is piracy safe right now?
And what are the possible ramifications for those who want to and do engage in piracy and operating piracy websites?
How likely are the people who engage in piracy via download illegal files and operating piracy websites, to get caught?
And assuming these players are caught, what are the type of punishments that they should expect?
Let’s try to answer these questions in this post from the perspective of all reading this post.
The World Is Round
In other words, all entertainment companies are trying to secure their revenue streams and ticket sales by going after pirates.
The scale doesn’t really matter much.
What we have seen so far is that the world’s biggest entertainment companies in the fields of,
Are going after pirates and piracy websites like there’s no tomorrow.
And there is little doubt and if someone announced next week that all pirates and piracy websites have ceased to function, these companies would rejoice the most.
Of course, there is not even a shiver of chance that pirates and piracy websites will give up their work anytime soon.
But there is no harm in dreaming or is there?
Regardless, these giant entertainment companies want to keep pirates and piracy websites at bay.
And they have decided to do that by investing large sums of greenbacks on a daily basis to keep pirates and piracy websites in check.
And of course, keep the unlawful uploading and distributing of copyrighted content to an absolute minimum.
Entertainment companies have received very little success in their plans.
Perhaps that is to be expected when we think about the foe they are dealing with.
In other words, pirates and piracy websites will not go down without a fight.
Consequently, these entertainment companies have come up with some sneaky and some clever strategies where they target pirates and piracy websites.
Some of these tactics have also involved copyright holder groups going after individual end users.
Which is, of course, a first.
The Word Is Big
Pirates and piracy websites and one thing going for them:
The size of this planet called earth.
And hence giant entertainment companies have faced a tough time in ensuring that their anti-piracy efforts are coordinated from region to region.
These companies can’t tackle piracy the same in all the regions.
What leaves consumers of copyrighted content to wonder:
Is piracy really safe?
Or are they putting themselves at risk?
No one can answer if you’re the next person that these giant entertainment companies are going to come after.
But it is true that no matter in which country you live in, there is always that certain level of inherent risk that comes with downloading and then consuming copyrighted content or pirated content.
And hence we feel, the long answer requires a bit more explanation.
First, Let’s Talk About P2P Protocols And BitTorrent
Most people use the BitTorrent technology when they try to access and download files from file sharing websites.
Usually, these sites are called piracy websites.
So it makes sense that whenever someone mentions BitTorrent technology, topics such as copyright infringements and alike are also discussed.
Using BitTorrent technology, especially while downloading copyrighted content, comes with a certain risk.
The BitTorrent technology is not like streaming and other types of piracy methods.
In the BitTorrent network, downloaders also act as distributors.
Moreover, all user IP addresses are public and there is no way to guard against that.
That makes it very easy for law enforcement agencies to track and find torrent users.
And they can do so with a minimum of effort or equipment.
If a rightsholder group is honest and determined, spotting and potentially uncovering the original identity of any online file sharer is not a difficult task.
BitTorrent has never advertised itself as an application for privacy.
For that, we have VPN service providers.
But that doesn’t change the fact that when it comes to privacy and anonymity, BitTorrent technology gets a zero out of ten.
Here is the problem though:
Blaming the BitTorrent technology for privacy woes is a bit like blaming Ferrari for not having any stealth features.
Ferrari is a car that is supposed to make a lot of noise and go fast.
So it isn’t exactly a stealth car.
And just like people can instantly see a speeding red Ferrari, law enforcement agencies can, if they want to, of course, see a BitTorrent user.
In fact, any one who has enough technical know-how can see anyone on the BitTorrent network.
The big question is not if anyone can see you though.
The big question is, given the fact that anyone can see you, is there someone who sees you and wants to do something about it?
That’s the real question.
As far as this century goes, there is no risk of facing any consequences.
This isn’t something we just came up with.
Statistically speaking, users who engage in piracy and operate piracy websites are very unlikely to come under any charges except in rare cases.
Of course, if you run the biggest torrent site in the world then law enforcement agencies will want to get in contact with you.
But other than that, you are safe.
The Situation In The US
Copyright trolling and similar problems are a serious and big issue for law enforcement agencies in the US.
For people who eventually get caught up, they can expect some serious penalties.
But as mentioned before, the proportion of people who are caught and then punished is very small.
If we say that about one percent of the people who engage in piracy and operate piracy websites are caught in the US, then that would be a huge overstatement.
Of course, assuming there is a one percent chance of getting caught, then out of a million people someone will get caught.
And if we know anything about gambling (which we don’t) then these are some pretty good odds.
Are There Any Warnings For Pirates And Piracy Websites?
Let’s start with this:
We just told you that the odds of getting caught in the US are extremely low.
And even lower in other countries.
If you live in a third world country then the chances are absolutely zero.
But here is the thing:
When caught, pirates and piracy websites are also likely to get a harsher treatment than just a simple and friendly warning.
Until last year, getting caught did not constitute a big problem.
But starting this year and beyond, law enforcement agencies along with copyright holder groups have taken the process of prosecution very seriously.
And that’s why we have seen the downfall of two of the top torrent sites in the world, KickAssTorrents and ExtraTorrents, fairly quickly.
The only one standing at the moment is The Pirate Bay and hats off to them for fending off law enforcement agencies and copyright holder groups for so long.
Just a while ago, the MPAA and RIAA signed and then operated on a new Copyright Alerts System called the Six Strikes.
This new system of protecting copyrights basically dishes out advice to a large number of pirates and piracy websites via notices.
MPAA and RIAA do this via the pirates’ internet service providers.
Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your position), the Six Strikes system shutdown or rather the MPAA and RIAA discontinued the program in January.
We don’t know the cause of it.
But we do know that the entities supporting The Six Strikes basically gave up.
And left the program.
What Does The Shutdown Of The Six Strikes Mean For Piracy And Piracy Websites?
This means a lot of things.
For one, the millions of pirates and thousands of piracy websites, are free to download and operate respectively with impunity.
No one is going to give them problems for now.
And hence users can continue to expose their IP addresses to the whole network public and share copyrighted online content and not worry about any serious consequences.
But that doesn’t mean anyone is taking such freedoms for granted.
Our sources tell us that a large number of pirates are now using VPN services in order to hide their identities and guard their anonymity.
Piracy websites are doing their part as well.
They are striking affiliate deals with big VPN service providers and are advising their site visitors to use VPN services before downloading anything from their piracy website.
Of course, none of that makes piracy legal.
Piracy websites are not legal.
And downloading copyrighted content from the internet without prior permission from the makers of that content is also not legal.
Far from it.
Of course, there a few THOUSAND pirates who do get caught.
And copyright trolls then serve them with notices via internet service providers.
They may face internet service suspension as well.
But that isn’t even a tiny portion of the overall pirate numbers.
Remember, there are more than 100 million pirates in the world.
Some say there are more.
And with the exception of a few thousand, everyone is downloading and sharing copyrighted stuff on piracy websites without any problems.
Isn’t the UK The Exception When It Comes To Piracy And Piracy Websites?
Even though the UK government has introduced some really tough laws for people involved with Torrent sites, copyrighted violations and Kodi boxes, the fact is, it is still practically infeasible to go after every person who is infringing copyrights.
And now we have heard the news that even in the UK, experts in the copyright infringement industry (pirates and co) don’t consider copyright trolling as a huge problem anymore.
Because copyright holder groups have had enough of the UK.
They tried to instill fear into pirates and piracy websites by highlighting and dragging some cases longer than they probably should have.
But apart from that, these copyright holder groups have achieved nothing concrete.
Some media reports even say that most of the copyright holder groups have now left the UK in order to concentrate on markets which are more lucrative.
We don’t know of any cases which have proceeded through the country’s courts and have come out the other end with solid conclusions.
That has resulted in the vast number of pirates and piracy websites to engage in piracy just as before.
And guess what?
They haven’t faced any legal problems either.
Does That Mean Everything Is Rosy And You Are Free To Pirate All You Want?
First, you shouldn’t pirate copyrighted content.
Second, no everything is not as safe as it seems.
Because even though the UK courts have not punished any pirates seriously, it doesn’t mean law enforcement agencies in the country aren’t keeping a watch.
In fact, we think you should take it as a given that they are noticing all the developments in the piracy sense in the UK.
Even though the copyright trolls have discontinued the warning system in the US, it isn’t the case in the UK.
What does this mean as far as the end user is concerned?
This means that about a few thousand internet consumers of a few internet service providers are actually receiving legal notices.
These legal notices, just as in the US, are basically sent to these pirate users each month.
They inform these pirates that their copyright infringing behavior has not gone unmonitored.
Who’s behind these notices?
Of course, entertainment companies.
At the current moment though even if the law catches a person engaging in piracy there is no punishment for it.
Let’s define what do we mean by caught here.
Caught, here, means a user who law enforcement agencies have suspected and accused of engaging in copyright infringement or piracy on more than one occasion.
Right now, it looks like law enforcement agencies along with copyright holder groups just want to win the psychological war.
They want to “worry” these pirates and piracy websites operators into submission.
And perhaps in some rare case, it may work.
Of course, this state could change rapidly.
Especially given the fact that law enforcement agencies are keeping records at scales never seen before.
Who Is The Worst When It Comes To Copyright Trolling Against Pirates And Piracy Websites?
The worst offender in terms of copyright trolling is without a doubt Germany.
Copyright trolls have for all practical purposes infested the whole country.
There are other European countries as well who have smaller copyright troll problems, but they are there.
all have had copyright trolling problems in the past.
But speaking from an overall perspective, the situation with pirates and piracy websites there too is not bad by any means.
In other words, file sharers across these countries go about their business as if they aren’t doing anything illegal.
The European Union also doesn’t have a massive project lined up to deal with the rising numbers of pirates and piracy sites.
They don’t aim to punish BitTorrent users there.
The only country in Europe that has an active warning system which spits out notice after notice is France.
What About Other Countries Such As Australia And Canada?
Australia and Canada both have had a small problem with copyright trolling companies.
Canada has an internet service provider warning system but it is for all practical purposes toothless.
Neither of the two above-mentioned countries are dangerous by any means.
Users can share files and download them via BitTorrent without any problems there too.
And just like in Europe, the UK, and the US, the chances of a proper prosecution for copyright infringement are extremely minuscule.