Major bust targeting "Sparks" group results in dramatic piracy decline

nanoguy

Posts: 567   +8
Staff member
In brief: After the arrest of three key members of the warez scene and the takedown of several pirate websites, there's been a significant drop in new releases across all categories of content. Whether that will last long into the future remains to be seen, as the music category is already seeing a rapid recovery.

Earlier this month, news broke that a massive law enforcement operation targeting scene release group "SPARKS" and its affiliates resulted in at least 29 websites being taken down across 18 countries. The move is a cooperation between the US Department of Justice and European authorities like Eurojust and Europol, and it looks like the damage may extend well beyond the original target.

According to a report from Torrentfreak, the raids wrecked the entire Scene and caused a sharp drop in new releases from other pirate groups. For instance, the data on Predb.org shows that on August 19 there were 1944 new releases across all categories of content, a number that dropped to just 168 a week after the raids.

By the end of August, categories like TV and anime showed little action in the way of new releases, as did games and ebooks, which dropped to zero right after the raids and are still relatively anaemic to this day. An outlier is the music category, which also suffered a drop in August but that somehow managed to surge to a two-week record of over 800 releases just days after the raids.

It's hard to predict if the effects of the bust will be long-lasting, but there are voices in the piracy community that claim it's only a matter of time before new Scene groups emerge to continue the work of SPARKS. What is certain is that the three men arrested in August have been charged with copyright infringement conspiracy, wire fraud, and conspiracy to transport stolen property interstate, meaning they face long prison sentences.

In the meantime, pirates are getting creative with their methods, and the infamous The Pirate Bay is still up and running, not to mention expanding its feature set. The latest ITIF report on the state of DMCA shows that online piracy has merely shifted from peer-to-peer downloads to peer-to-peer streaming, with no signs of reduction.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that in 2019 digital piracy caused $29.2 billion in lost revenue and killed anywhere between 230,000 and 560,000 American jobs.

No less than 80 percent of online piracy relates to content found on TV, video-on-demand, and streaming services. And while some people will always pirate content as long as it's possible, subscription fatigue could very well be one of the reasons why consumers still go through the trouble of pirating. The entertainment market seems flooded with content silos from several major broadcasters, which is why aggregators like ScreenHits TV can't launch soon enough.

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Hexic

Posts: 744   +781
TechSpot Elite
“..And while some people will always pirate content as long as it's possible, subscription fatigue could very well be one of the reasons why consumers still go through the trouble of pirating. The entertainment market seems flooded with content silos from several major broadcasters ..”

Hit the nail right on the head right there. The entertainment industry b*itches about piracy, and then their solution is to fragment the market furthermore with dozens of paid services.

The entertainment industry’s ineptitude is costing the market billions of dollars and thousands of jobs, not piracy. Root cause analysis 101.
 

toooooot

Posts: 1,282   +606
Fighting piracy promotes a growing generation that couldnt get to "test" the product by the means of pirating. Who will you sell your premium special version blu rays and dvds when nobody has any idea since many people can never afford to keep a 100 of subscription services?
I have bought many Blu ray movies and games I pirated when I was younger.
I swear, had I not have any access to those, these companies could have never gotten a single dollar from me. Greed literally kills the industry. To hell with them, let the greedy c#%$s go broke.
 

psycros

Posts: 3,188   +3,373
"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that in 2019 digital piracy caused $29.2 billion in lost revenue and killed anywhere between 230,000 and 560,000 American jobs."

Literally no one believes the job loss claim. Not a single industry is actually adding employees, not even the ones seeing record profits over the past 18 months.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 7,407   +5,853
While it may be a major bust, I guarantee there are plenty more out there. Over the years we have seen all kinds of creative youngsters and for them, it's just another challenge and a game. Of course the Feds have no way of estimating the number of games, movies, etc that travel by sneaker-net and despite it being old fashion, it's still effective and very popular.
 
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Burty117

Posts: 3,828   +1,698
Soo many ways to actually "fight" piracy, the reason I say "fight" is that you can never get rid of piracy. Instead, what you could do is actually make your services consumer friendly. For example:

Give me somewhere I can buy movies at full quality in a digital format (full quality mkv would do) as a one time purchase and don't even think about trying to charge the same as you do physical formats, If you can do it with Music, you can do it with movies and TV Shows.
Stop making a million streaming services and fragmenting everything. Turning the cost up ten fold was always going to lose you paying customers.
Actually make everything available! The Mandalorian and Game of Thrones are great examples of how not to release stuff in the modern age.
Anime is also painful, another mutli-streaming services nightmare that between them still don't have all the shows people want to watch and costs 4x more than a Spotify subscription.

All I know is, this was a lot of police work and man power to arrest 3 guys. That seems like a waste of time and money to me and they should probably spend their time on tracking suspect terrorists or shut down human trafficking rings or something more substantial.
 

lipe123

Posts: 927   +492
The irony is just so real when a movie studio releases a new AAA blockbuster that earns 20 BILLION dollars in theaters but the movie studio publishes a 2 million dollar loss.
So it's perfectly legal for the movie studio to commit wide scale fraud but it's THE worst when someone pirates their movie.

Piracy is a symptom of a problem more than it's a problem itself.
 

tellmewhy

Posts: 16   +1
Virtual goods can’t be stolen or cause virtual damages

From the energy point of view when someone reads a book, hears a song, watching a movie or using a computer program without pay for it, it doesn’t cause any damages to anyone because the nature of the information allows it to be reproduced with ZERO cost. It’s not like a box full o gold or a car where EVERY piece it needs energy and work hours to build so when you own a piece with that you BLOCK all the others from owning that piece, so when someone else takes it then it’s a stealing because with that action he blocks the usage to the previous owner and from that reason he is causing him damage.

From the legal point of view the roots of law originate from the common practice. In other words something which is very common practice not only can’t be illegal but in that common practice it’s where the roots of legality stand. And it’s very common practice (worldwide) to read books, hear songs, watch movies and use programs without paying for them. So it’s not allowed the 100% of the population to be “pirates”. In fact to name their personality with that false term it’s an action punishable from criminal law.

Of course humanity owes gratitude to all writers and inventors and must find an efficient way (maybe zero taxes to them?) to express it with material reward but without trapping itself in socially (not all can be thieves) and scientifically (no one was born with knowledge) harmful practices .
 
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Featherawr

Posts: 9   +12
“..And while some people will always pirate content as long as it's possible, subscription fatigue could very well be one of the reasons why consumers still go through the trouble of pirating. The entertainment market seems flooded with content silos from several major broadcasters ..”

Hit the nail right on the head right there. The entertainment industry b*itches about piracy, and then their solution is to fragment the market furthermore with dozens of paid services.

The entertainment industry’s ineptitude is costing the market billions of dollars and thousands of jobs, not piracy. Root cause analysis 101.
What's the point of being in business if you can't corner the market and gouge your customers?
 

EClyde

Posts: 2,313   +907
Warez is a great scene if you like Trojans. I doubt this will have long lasting effects. .50 cal isn't stopping the gulf pirates
 

0dium

Posts: 102   +94
"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that in 2019 digital piracy caused $29.2 billion in lost revenue and killed anywhere between 230,000 and 560,000 American jobs."

Bull***t. That's not how it works. A big chunk of people pirating content wouldn't buy it anyway. Lots of people just can't afford buying everything they want.
Another thing is that everything went from physical copies to digital copies which are not tangible. You don't feel like you really own it, so why bother buying?
 

EClyde

Posts: 2,313   +907
"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that in 2019 digital piracy caused $29.2 billion in lost revenue and killed anywhere between 230,000 and 560,000 American jobs."

Literally no one believes the job loss claim. Not a single industry is actually adding employees, not even the ones seeing record profits over the past 18 months.
Truck drivers Baby and that's just a start, so there Hasbro
 

Trillionsin

Posts: 1,877   +462
Doesnt this always just reinforce how much money they WANT vs what people are willing to pay? I think once that balance it met, pirating will become a lot less mainstream. Entertainment is cheap anymore.
 

Evernessince

Posts: 5,343   +5,840
The current video content situation is very inconvenient. People don't want to subscribe to 12 services and they don't want to have to sit through unskippable ads and have to deal with DRM laden physical copies.

Digital can make things very convenient but that gets in the way of profits. It's no surprise that the categories with the least pirated content are the least segmented by exclusives.
 

theruck

Posts: 232   +104
"digital piracy caused $29.2 billion in lost revenue and killed anywhere between 230,000 and 560,000 American jobs."
this is so bullshit. if that is so, then
compare it to the money lost on marketing and count in the health damages the industry generates
 

treetops

Posts: 3,009   +758
People stopped watching traditional media.... We solved piracy! or nobody cares anymore, they would rather watch tik tok. YT. Post selfies. Look up random stuff(me). Scroll though Hulu\Netflix for hours while looking at their phone, give up and go to sleep.

Oh yeah and it would be nice if their was an easy way to know what service streams what when. Typing out a movie name with a remote control is cringe. Check Netflix, Check Hulu, Check Amazon, Check YT..... Oh google says its on oh it switched to hmm but not anymore.
 

navuho

Posts: 25   +21
It is funny how big companies blame how much money and jobs they have lost due to piracy, and at the same time they don't do anything to win new clients from other countries.

For example, movie providers like Netflix, Microsoft, Amazon and others have subtitles and dubbing in 12-15 languages, but what about the rest? So without subtitles available and dubbing many international customers are forced to do piracy due to lack of options.

How about let us own the movies on files (buy and download drm free file directly online) to use it on our own Plex and other media servers.

It is the same for games, game developers have very few languages like 5-10, and then they don't even do demos anymore so you can't even test it, you have to watch videos or wait for some "free play weekend" if this ever happens for your chosen game.

The pricing is also very wrong, you can't ask 7$ for a movie made 40 years ago, still having copyright on this feels wrong..

So in my view, the industry is forcing the majority of international customers to do piracy as not offering them localized content at reasonable price.

 
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kmo911

Posts: 234   +27
1 st of all- those darn ADS on tv mobile phone. WE WANT MORE PAYD for USER FREE VERSIONS on yout tv 2. there wasa a kid (man) tha had a name q JON (dvd) . he vanted to get rid of thos premade ads on dvd. you want only one lanuage and only the movie. nothing more. that started the I want to be a PIRATE. when sending ads on tv something in ouhr head said. THATS enough adf for a day. then tpb cam and blessed US eu aust and so on with clean verions of music movies FILms eboks. no more renting and bad ads. we were in heaven (the movie) then bearshare the big K came utorrent vuze ands so on. the mac got its ovn to rr ent sharing programs and konverer programs. if you se ads on tv and you simply turn of tv go to tpb getting a better full quality verion of stormfulle høyder or perfect storm 300 kmt and so on. we want (ed) to be free from ADS.
 

candle_86

Posts: 516   +383
Yes it's the fragmentation and the obscene cost, hulu wants 50 extra bucks to show me my local stations, the same ones my rabbit ears get for free. I have no sympathy
 
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If President trump is allowed to use songs with out paying for the use then it is ok for every one else to, he is the leader of the country complaining. as a leader he says what is ok for the general public to do by leading example
 

p51d007

Posts: 2,492   +1,766
Just as with the "Hydra", take off one head, two more take it's place. The pirates will always pop up to fill the void.