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Social networks are a well-known channel for accessing pirated content. Therefore, these platforms also function as a search engine and as a mediation channel between the user and digital content, whether legal or illegal.

In an EUIPO report published in 2021 focusing on the role of social media in intellectual property infringement, it was observed that if we look at the volume of conversations related to digital piracy, Reddit was the most used network, followed by Twitter. 

Specifically, most conversations about e-book piracy, sporting events, and music were gathered on Twitter, while Reddit generated the highest percentage of conversations in the categories of video games, movies, and TV shows.

The r/piracy subreddit

Of course, copyrighted material can sometimes be found on various subreddits, but the r/piracy forum is, by definition, for people who want to share tools, techniques and resources related to online piracy.

Created in 2008, the subreddit currently has over 640,000 members. Its raison d’être“a community dedicated to the discussion of digital piracy”. Like many digital spaces related to piracy, the subreddit plays a subtle balancing act. Indeed, if general conversations about piracy are accepted in the name of freedom of expression, it is however forbidden to ask other users to ask for links, or activation keys concerning a specific content. 

Reddit’s position is relatively ambiguous – indeed, in 2019, a “cleanup” of the platform was performed, and many threads like r/NBAstreams were removed. All content prior to 2019 was also removed from r/piracy. 

The numbers speak of this content monitoring effort:

  • Indeed, in 2018, Reddit made 26,234 content removals.
  • In 2019, the removals were five times higher – 124,257
  • In 2020, they increased another 2.5 times compared to the previous year and 375,774 threads were removed. 

However, it’s important to realize that despite the lack or decrease of visible links on the platform, piracy on Reddit hasn’t necessarily decreased; it’s just changed its form. Links and other specific information are now exchanged mostly via private messages, but Reddit is where users interested in piracy meet.

Source: EUIPO report


The microblogging network is not a renowned pirate hunter – there have been many occasions when users have posted fims broken down into several clips in threads – but the Twitter teams nevertheless respond to removal requests even if they do not actively seek to limit piracy. Thus, for a long time, accounts of now-closed sites such as Tirexo or Extreme down posted updates to their addresses on the platform with impunity. 

The EUIPO report also mentions that Twitter is the place where conversations about music piracy are most frequent. 

Recently, Twitter was also the source of a scandal: a celebrity photo agency filed a lawsuit – seeking $230 million in damages – after thousands of photos found their way onto the site. 

Backgrid claims that Twitter refused to respond adequately to removal requests – and to take the necessary measures, such as removing and closing accounts. The agency therefore filed a lawsuit in California court in December 2022, concerning the more than 1500 images repeatedly used by several accounts still active today. 

The lack of reaction from Twitter may indeed question its attitude towards the respect of intellectual property as the terms of use of the platform state: “If multiple copyright complaints are received about an account, or if other evidence suggests a pattern of repeated infringement, Twitter may suspend that account”. Twitter has not yet commented on the Backgrid lawsuit, although the agency has reportedly filed more than 6,700 DMCA notices without any response from Twitter.

Come visit us in mid-March for our next article on the most effective anti-piracy methods in 2023.  In the meantime, if you have content to protect – whether it’s a movie, a series, a music album or a sporting event – don’t hesitate to contact one of our account managers and we’ll be happy to help you, so you can regain control of your revenues!