According to a study, the annual advertising revenue of websites and apps featuring pirated movies and TV shows is approximately US$1.3 billion (approximately 96.6 billion rupees), including large companies such as Amazon.
According to the online security non-profit organization Digital Citizenship Alliance and the anti-piracy company White Bullet, piracy is also a major source of malware. Some advertisements placed on the website contain links used by hackers to steal personal information or conduct ransomware attacks.
Solution Although law enforcement officials tried to stop some online criminal activities, these organizations identified at least 84,000 illegal entertainment websites.
The study highlights how difficult the issue of piracy is for Hollywood studios and companies that distribute digital advertisements. The COVID-19 pandemic has made the situation more complicated. This has made more people watch movies and TV shows online, and criminals are more likely to successfully target victims.
The author of the report wrote: “Piracy causes direct harm to creators and others who have lost income due to content theft.” “When their ads appear on illegal websites, major brands face reputational risks.”
White Bullet monitors the most popular websites and apps from June 2020 to May 2021 to determine the range of advertising revenue for pirated content. It has been honed on approximately 6,000 websites and 900 applications, and it has monitored the ads that appear.
Major brands account for about 4% of pirated website advertisements and 24% of pirated app advertisements, of which Amazon, Facebook and Google are the largest companies. The largest piece of the overall advertisement is in the form of “sponsored content”, which usually takes the form of a “click bait” link, which looks like it points to a news story or an interesting video. Small companies, adult content, fraud and malware make up the rest of the ads.
Although the advertisements of major brands account for a small part of the total, they are particularly problematic in preventing the proliferation of pirated content websites. According to research, they make the entire website look more legit and can make users more likely to click on the fraudulent ads they appear.
Any advertising on pirated websites and apps is almost certainly unintentional, but there is evidence that if companies remain vigilant, they can stop it. According to the report, an initiative called Trustworthy Accountability Group reminded Amazon of its advertising volume on pirated websites in early 2021, and the company’s advertising volume on illegal websites has dropped significantly throughout the year.
Peter Szyszko, CEO and founder of White Bullet, said in an email: “Failure to choose tools that assess the risk of piracy in real time means that advertisers will fund criminals-it’s a multi-billion dollar problem.” At best, this is negligence. At worst, it is deliberately funding intellectual property crimes.”
As Hollywood studios respond to the decline in theater audiences during the pandemic and release new movies online earlier than in the past, piracy may increase. The movie star Scarlett Johansson saw piracy as a special issue when she recently filed a lawsuit against Walt Disney for the early online premiere of the movie “Black Widow.”
Facebook declined to comment on the report. Spokespersons for Amazon and Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
© 2021 Bloomberg