Yo, Matey! Pirate Content Theft Sites Still Raking in the Booty

Pirate FlagThere are about 600 websites that still illegally stream TV shows and movies online.

It’s a lucrative venue. A recent study by Digital Citizens Alliance (DCA) and MediaLink discovered that they took in $209 million in revenue in 2014 from ads adjacent to stolen digital content.

The study, “Good Money Still Going Bad,” notes that this is less than the $227 million from the 2013 study, but DCA attributed that to the fact that about four in 10 of those sites have been shut down or “shrunk” in the last year. Because of that, revenues for the two years is actually comparable.

“What this report shows is that content theft sites can make something while creating nothing while posing real dangers to Internet users who are subjected to malware and other viruses,” said Tom Galvin, DCA executive director. “Despite the intensified efforts of law enforcement and private industry, the content thieves had another banner year, and that’s bad news for both content creators and consumers who got their computers infected.”

Unfortunately for consumers, nearly a third of the sites have links with “the potential to infect users’ computers with viruses and other malware,” according to the study.

And jeopardy for name brands is rampant. Name brand ads running alongside pirated material increased from 89 in 2013 to 131 in 2014.

“The study was based on 589 sites with 25 or more Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown requests in Q3 2014, not including porn sites, “hate” sites, sites with mostly user-generated content or sites where the content was not primarily TV and movies,” noted MultiChannel.com.