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Danish anti-piracy group says web-blocks work, though piracy is also getting harder to monitor

By | Published on Monday 12 April 2021

Piracy / Hacker

A new report from Danish anti-piracy group the Rights Alliance says that the number of people in Denmark accessing piracy services dropped last year. This is partly because of web-blocking efforts in the country, but also because many users are now accessing unlicensed content via platforms like YouTube and Facebook, which is consumption that doesn’t get spotted by its piracy monitoring work.

According to Torrentfreak, the latest report from the Rights Alliance says that – according to its monitoring – the number of Danish web users accessing piracy sites was down from 450,000 in 2019 to around 370,000 in 2020. Although, that said, the total number of visits to piracy sites last year, at around twelve million per month, was more or less the same as in 2019.

Still, fewer people are tapping piracy sites for content, so that’s a good thing. Maybe the web-blocking efforts of the Rights Alliance and copyright owners in the country – seeking court injunctions forcing internet service providers to block access to copyright-infringing websites – is working.

For its part, the Alliance says that it thinks its prolific web-blocking efforts have had an impact. Although it also concedes that increased VPN usage might mean an increasing amount of piracy is circumventing its monitoring, plus there are all those people accessing infringing content on the YouTubes and Facebooks of this world.

“Unfortunately, the decline in the number of users is probably also due to the fact that the users have moved to other platforms where consumption cannot be immediately measured in the data sets”, it writes. “A new challenge that has become clearer in recent years is the increasing decentralisation of illegal content to legal services, such as YouTube and Facebook. Here it is not possible to measure illegal consumption and the users are not necessarily aware that they are consuming illegal content, as the service itself is legal”.

Of course YouTube, Facebook et al provide rights management tools for copyright owners, and such platforms have new obligations in the rights management domain as a result of the 2019 European Copyright Directive. And making better use of those tools – and getting those tools improved – are now very much on the Rights Alliance’s agenda.

It confirms in its report that last year it “intensified [its] work with the platforms’ responsibility for copyright infringement – ie through dialogue with the platforms and in the work of implementing article seventeen of the EU Copyright Directive in Danish law”.