While basically anyone with simultaneous walking and gum chewing abilities should know this already, there are still plenty of folks who don’t. Unfortunately, they’re usually the ones in charge of making key decisions and the people who have those folks in their back pockets. But in the hopes that maybe I can help even one person see reason and sense, I present this scientific study telling us that blocking pirate websites does pretty much jack shit to actually ya know, stop piracy.
Researchers from Boston Northeastern University carried out a study to determine how effective various anti-piracy strategies were, including blockades and censorship. By monitoring thousands of files, across various file-hosting services, the researchers tracked the availability of pirated media. They discovered that takedown notices, which Big Media fires out willy-nilly, basically do nothing to reduce the availability of copyrighted material.
Also, their research pinpointed an actual uptick in pirated media available on various file-hosting sites after MegaUpload got shut down, which is exactly what we’ve assumed before. In fact, there are something like 10,000 different domains hosting pirated content, spread over 5,000 separate IP addresses across the internet – you’re never going to kill them all.
The researchers from Boston therefore came to the conclusion that regular techniques employed by Big Media are basically worthless, and that the only real way to curb piracy is to follow the money.
Follow the money, meaning work with payment processors and ad brokers to cut off the cash supply that keeps the operations running, which makes a lot more sense than a rash of please refrain from doing that letters. However, the team also pointed out something that I’ve written before. Even following the money won’t necessarily work all the time, because technology is ever changing and evolving to stay ahead of corporate and legislative roadblocks.
“Given our findings that highlight the difficulties of reducing the supply of pirated content, it appears to be promising to follow a complementary strategy of reducing the demand for pirated content, e.g., by providing legitimate offers that are more attractive to consumers than pirating content.”
On behalf of the internet community, allow me to offer up a hearty duuuuuuuuuuh!
You know, if the likes of the RIAA and MPAA had listened to this advice more than a decade ago, a lot of that money they supposedly don’t have could have been saved and none of this would have ever needed to be the problem it’s become.