The public is desperate to watch new content as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in the United States and other parts of the world. With many people turning to easily accessible and illegally downloaded movies and shows for entertainment while still being stuck at home, the need for piracy has increased exponentially.
According to data provided by Muso, a website that collects data on online piracy, this act has increased by 33% globally, while the United States has seen an increase of 45%.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, online piracy can be defined as âthe practice of using the Internet to illegally copy software and transmit it to other people. In August, one of the major hacking organizations, called Sparks Group, was dismantled for illegally distributing copyrighted digital media. They have multiple servers that span different continents and networks across the world.
“The content was made available prior to its commercial release date and distributed via streaming websites, peer-to-peer networks, torrent networks and other publicly accessible servers causing significant loss. to the film production industry, “said Eurojust. in an August 26 statement.
There was also a popular website for watching pirated cartoons called KissAnime. It moved to many areas but was finally closed in June 2020.
So why do online hacking websites have to change domains to keep working? This is because they could be prosecuted for breaking the law.
“Streaming hacking only results in a crime – if it is prosecuted,” Adam Mossoff, law professor at George Mason University told Newsweek.
Although the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was created by Congress in 1998, online piracy has become an even more serious problem.
According to the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the DMCA has two weak points: the first being the exclusion of foreign pirating websites, and the second being the emphasis on the “opt-out” function, which owners can request. to any site to remove illegal content. Nonetheless, the function is ineffective due to the resilience of illegal websites, said Ashley Johnson, research analyst.
It is just as illegal to send a pirated movie file to a friend as it is to watch pirated movies on the Internet. Even though you can get away with using online hacking, it doesn’t mean that the crime might not be punished in the future. According to Steve Pociask, president and CEO of the American Consumer Institute Center for Citizen Research, you could be charged with a felony.
âUnder current law, downloading copyrighted digital content is a federal crime punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of $ 250,000, while streaming the same movie, TV show or music file is simply an offense punishable by up to one year. in jail and fined $ 100,000, âPociask said.
According to Deborah Geisler, professor of communications at the University of Suffolk, companies such as Disney are concerned about copyright infringement. But they often don’t seek to punish violators because of corporate priorities. Geisler said they are unlikely to tackle minor violations because they are often a waste of time and resources.
âIt’s understandable since most of the people who have used online hacking intend to use legal hacking anyway,â Geisler said.
However, for many citizens of foreign countries, there are no straightforward or easy decisions when it comes to legal entertainment streaming. According to Fossy Bytes, many factors the public has taken into consideration include price, availability, usefulness, anonymity, freedom of information, and censorship. While watching pirated videos is easier than paying to watch them, many will choose to stream or download them illegally. Especially when they are locked in their homes.
According to Variety’s analysis on Muso, “The company tracked 1.1 billion visits to hacking sites in the United States in March 2020.” Other countries around the world also saw hundreds of millions of visits to these sites at the start of the pandemic.