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Piracy Takedowns, Domain Seizures Don't Work, New Research Says

Posted by: , 14:47 AEDT, Sat January 12, 2013

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Taking down pirated uploads, censoring or seizing domain names, and even the closure of Megaupload have not had any notable effect on cyberlocker piracy, a new study finds
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A new study from Boston’s Northeastern University has found that pirates are winning the "cat-and-mouse" game between themselves and those seeking to take down pirated content, either via DMCA notices or domain censorship and seizure. In fact, even the shuttering of Megaupload seems to have had little effect on the piracy scene, the report suggests.

The research focused on file hosting services like Megaupload that are still operating, including the likes of Uploaded, Wupload, RapidShare and Netload. They found that while DMCA notices were quickly processed and the uploads removed, a number of new uploads then that springs up in its place. Even when an entire file hosting or a one-click uploading service is shut down, more and more new ones appear.

Even the shuttering of the largest file hosting provider, Megaupload, did very little in terms of stopping piracy. Pirates simply diversified the places where they uploaded their files to, and new websites appeared that allowed a single upload to the propagated to numerous file hosting services, simplifying the upload process while at the same time making it more difficult to take down the upload.

The research paper concludes that measure to remove or censor file hosting services simply does not work. Instead, the researchers suggest that going after the payment providers of these file hosting service can have a greater impact, especially for those services that provide an affiliate program.

But the most effective way to stop piracy, the paper argues, is still innovation. "Given our findings that highlight the difficulties of reducing the supply of pirated content, it appears to be promising to follow a complementary strategy of reducing the demand for pirated content, e.g., by providing legitimate offers that are more attractive to consumers than pirating content."


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