Pirate Bay Gets a ‘Massive’ $9 in Donations, Per Day

thepirateThree years ago many popular torrent sites added an option to donate via Bitcoin. The Pirate Bay was one of the first to jump on board, a development which caused concern among copyright holders.

The RIAA even informed the U.S. trade representative about this looming threat. The music industry group warned that Bitcoin could make it harder to crack down on pirate sites.

“In April 2013, the site started accepting donations from the public by Bitcoin, a digital currency, which operates using peer-to-peer technology,” the RIAA wrote.

“There are no central authority or banks involved which makes it very difficult to seize or trace Bitcoin funds,” the music industry group added.

Bitcoin does indeed make it harder to seize funds, as law enforcement would need access to the computer where the wallet is kept.

However, Bitcoin also makes it easy to see how much donations are coming in. All transactions are public and traceable which allows anyone to see how much money Pirate Bay is making through donations.

This is exactly what we decided to do. Using the publicly listed Bitcoin wallet address, which is shown on every Pirate Bay page we found that 376 donations, roughly one donation per day, were sent over the past year.

The total amount of Bitcoin received during this period adds up to 8.21 BTC. At the current exchange rate this equals $3,500 in donations over the past twelve months, or $9.34 per day.

Needless to say, Pirate Bay’s operators are not getting rich off user donations.

TPB featuring the Bitcoin address


It appears that the interest in donating has tapered off over the years. Last year Custos Media Technologies reported that the site had received 126.64 Bitcoin in its various wallets between 2013 and 2015, which is significantly more.

TPB Bitcoin earnings from 2013 till 2015


That being said, even the 8.21 it received last year is a fortune when compared to other prominent torrent sites.

ExtraTorrent also lists a Bitcoin address on its site, as well as in the uploads of their ETTV and ETRG release groups. This wallet amassed a total of 4.31 in donations since 2013 which is roughly $1 per day.

Again, that’s quite a treasure trove when we look at the donations that are coming in at KickassTorrents, which is currently the most-visited torrent site.

Since 2013 KAT has raked in a measly 0.96 BTC, which is roughly $250, or two dozen cents per day. Admittedly, KAT doesn’t promote donations and the address is only listed in the site’s FAQ.

It’s pretty safe to say that if the RIAA and other copyright holders are concerned about the revenue going to pirate sites and groups, there’s little to worry about in respect of Bitcoin or user donations in general.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

Source: TorrentFreak

Hulu Tracks Pirates to Decide What to Buy

huluWhen major movie and TV companies discuss piracy they often mention the massive losses incurred as a result of unauthorized downloads and streams.

However, this unofficial market also offers a valuable pool of publicly available data on the media consumption habits of a relatively young generation.

Many believe that piracy is in part a market signal showing rightsholders what consumers want. This makes piracy statistics key business intelligence, which many large companies already actively use.

Netflix, for example, uses piracy to figure out how much they can charge in a country, as well as what content they license. They are not alone.

A few days ago we learned that Hulu does the same. Hulu’s head of content acquisitions Lisa Holme told Business Insider that piracy data is an important factor in deciding what content the company licenses.

Pirates can show what TV-shows or movies people are interested in and if they go through the ‘trouble’ of downloading something illegally, it is bound to do well on legitimate platforms as well.

According to Holme, piracy effectively tells Hulu how committed people are to a show. “They are passionate enough about it to break the law,” she says, adding that many would pay to stream content if there’s an easy way.

Piracy tracking and intelligence firm MUSO is one of the players that offers this type of data to copyright holders. While they don’t work with Hulu, the company says that it’s more common nowadays to use piracy as input.

“Piracy data analytics really are a window into the size of global piracy audiences, as well as their behavior around piracy. If you put that data together with regional focus, piracy suddenly isn’t black and white, but has multiple shades,” MUSO’s Chief Commercial Officer Christopher Elkins says.

This type of data can often reveal important geographical trends. And aside from using in for anti-piracy means, the same analytics can be used to make content acquisition decisions.

“Rights owners are starting to use piracy insights effectively to help support their digital strategy, and we’re seeing huge benefit now across the TV and live broadcast industry in particular, which has such geographic-specific rights.”

Ultimately, this should be a win-win for all parties involved. Media companies and copyright holders have a better grip on their audience, and pirates get more legal options of their liking.

“For us, it’s incredibly encouraging to see the creative ways the content industry are using data to ultimately serve a better experience for audiences,” Elkins

TorrentFreak reached out to Hulu for some additional insights about their use of piracy data, but unfortunately the company did not reply. Piracy can come in handy at times, but talking about it apparently still isn’t always convenient.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

Source: TorrentFreak

Portugal Blocks 330 Pirate Sites in Just Six Months

One of copyright holders’ most-favored anti-piracy mechanisms in place today involves site-blocking. Censoring sites at the ISP level is effective, rightsholders insist, not to mention cheaper than direct legal action against pirate sites.

In most countries where site-blocking is already in place, authorities have previously determined that the legal system must be involved. In the UK, for example, existing legislation was deemed to offer rightsholders the tools they need. Australia, on the other hand, decided to introduce legal amendments to keep things on the straight and narrow.

Portugal decided to take a different approach, one that simply involved an agreement between rightsholders, ISPs and the government. Now, if a site is considered to be illegal by these parties, it can be blocked without stepping into a courtroom.

For copyright holders it’s the Holy Grail and they’re taking full advantage of the new system. This week during a conference in the capital, Lisbon, the Portuguese Association for the Protection of Audiovisual Works revealed the extent of the program and it’s as critics feared.

Executive Director Antonio Paulo Santos reported that Portugal is now blocking a vast range of file-sharing and related sites, offering movies, TV, shows and music to streaming sports and books. In total more than 330 sites are now being blocked by local Internet service providers.

The rate of blocking is unprecedented. In October 2015 more than 50 sites were blocked by ISPs, including KickassTorrents, ExtraTorrent, Isohunt and RARBG. The following month another 40 were added, including BitSnoop, YourBitorrent, SeedPeer, Torlock and Torrentfunk.

Since then another 240 sites have been quietly added to the list. This rapid growth means that along with the United Kingdom and Italy, Portugal is already a world leader in pirate site blockades. All this has been achieved without ever going near a court room.

It is this kind of voluntary agreement that Hollywood and the major record labels are pushing for internationally, whether they’re with Internet service providers, domain registries or companies such as PayPal, Visa and Mastercard. The process in Portugal ticks all the right boxes for the entertainment companies so expect it to be championed elsewhere.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

Source: TorrentFreak