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Facts and numbers

  • Films are more likely to be pirated a few weeks after their release, but also when they are nominated or awarded at the Oscars or other industry events (Cannes festival, Sundance festival…)
  • No category of movies can escape piracy. Indeed, when asked, most viewers don’t feel guilty when pirating blockbuster movies – for the public, blockbusters generate enough revenue, and piracy does not particularly harm them. But independent films are pirated just as much. For these movies, piracy often stems from a difficulty in finding the content – the film is not available in the pirate’s country for instance.
  • A film is most likely to be pirated for 12 to 15 weeks after its release. When the film is presented at industry events and festivals, piracy can begin before the official release with a leak of the versions given to the jury.
  • Piracy, although difficult to quantify, represents about 25% of the film industry’s revenues, and these figures seem to be increasing. It is very likely that if you work in the film industry your product has already been pirated.

How to fight against piracy ?

It is, of course, possible to take antipiracy measures yourself.

In order to be efficient, all the steps of the process need to be respected. 

You will need to:

  • Monitor the networks with Google alerts and a thorough search on search engines.
  • Know which sites are publishing illegal content – torrent sites, illegal streaming or direct download. These sites close down and are replaced by others very quickly, sometimes several times a month, so it is necessary to perform a constant watch to follow an opaque activity, that is always mutating.
  • Maintain a daily presence on social networks, forums, Discord servers, Reddit conversations where information about piracy and especially new site addresses is shared.
  • Once the content has been identified, you will have to send takedown notices – to Google to prevent the search results from appearing, and to the host of the source file to actually have it removed.
  • You also need to make sure that all types of pirate sites are covered – streaming sites, which account for a large part of pirated content for movies (70-80%), but also torrent sites, and sites offering direct download (DDL).

These actions have to be done every day – indeed, on the Internet everything goes very fast, and the appearance of a single file in one place can quickly turn into thousands of pirate links in 24 to 48 hours. 

Such research, especially in the absence of experienced agents and adapted tools, takes several hours per day for each product, which can be very tedious. Moreover, without specialized tools to scan networks, it is easy to miss a leak. 

Our team of experts has developed specific tools, after more than a decade in the anti-piracy industry. We have seen and solved various situations that allowed us to adapt our tools and processes, making them as transparent, fast and efficient for our clients as possible. 

The success factors we have identified to maximize efficiency are:

  • Reactivity: the faster the first pirate link is removed, the less the networks will be contaminated. In the anti-piracy sector, time is of the essence. Indeed, a single source file will often be taken over by hundreds of sites within 24 to 48 hours. If this file is removed before spreading, the work is protected – at least for a while.
  • Adapted automated tools, associated with a human verification: this combination allows to carry out the procedures efficiently and quickly, while ensuring that no legal file is deleted – some unscrupulous companies indeed skip the human verification step in order to reduce costs, and your promotional files and trailers can then be deleted during a DMCA request. With Agence PDN this will not happen, the last step of our process is always done by a human.
  • Direct access to some high traffic sites thanks to our moderator status. A site like YouTube will be a huge loss of revenue when a full version of your movie will be posted there.  PDN is a moderator for YouTube, 1fichier and other big hosting services, that allows us to ensure that content is removed as soon as an infringement is detected.

When a leak occurs, a specialized company like PDN  can also conduct a thorough investigation to find the exact the source of the piracy. If the compromising file originated from your company, you can then take the necessary steps to fix the problem.

It is possible to take action and to limit piracy on your own. But if you want to protect your product, it means spending several hours a day for 3 or 4 months just to that end. Without any experience in anti-piracy and specific tools and processes, doing it yourself will be less effective. Pirated versions of your movie present online are a major potential loss of revenue that no business can afford.

Leaving pirate links online is like leaving an open purse on a nightclub table – maybe no one will steal your wallet, but the chances for it to happen are still very high. 

A specialized company like PDN has the developed the right tools and processes, and its employees have several years of experience in antipiracy. Don’t hesitate to contact us, keep doing what you do best, and let us take care of the rest.

Read our next article to learn everything you need to know about copyright.