Traffic From the USA is Still the Top Source for Pirate Platforms

By Bill Toulas / March 2, 2020

According to a recent report by piracy tracking firm MUSO, pirate websites are counting on their US-derived traffic the most. In absolute numbers, traffic from the United States is reaching about 1.2 billion visits per month. Russia comes second with 737 million, India third with 627 million, and Brazil fourth with 559 million. This is a very interesting statistic, as the USTR is regularly releasing an online piracy and marketplace "naughty list" urging other countries to conform with their call for stricter guidelines, yet it seems that the United States is failing to curb the phenomenon on its home turf.

Without a doubt, we’ve seen authorities and copyright holders in the US trying their best to tackle the problem. They are securing website blocking orders via District Courts, target individual BitTorrent pirates, sue pirate IPTV platform owners, arrest IPTV box sellers, and engage in lobbying to try and convince the Trump administration to criminalize piracy. Despite all that though, the audience from the United States remains the biggest driver for piracy, and naturally the biggest source of income for these illicit platforms.

In terms of the type of piracy that the U.S. traffic concerns, this is analyzed as follows:

  1. Streaming – 66.6%
  2. Web Download – 19.4%
  3. Public Torrent – 7.8%
  4. Stream Ripping – 5.4%
  5. Private Torrent – 0.8%

This is consistent with what was reported back in 2018 when a study by Sandvine reported that pirate IPTV subscribers in the USA and Canada corresponded to the 5.5% of the population. Since then, illegal content distribution via streaming IPTV platforms has risen even more. In Russia, streaming piracy accounts for 60%, but in India, the top place goes to direct downloads with 50%.

One important thing that should be noted is that these stats don’t discriminate between VPN and unmasked traffic. This means that if someone from Denmark, for example, is using a US-based server to access a pirate platform, they are counted as US-based pirates. That said, the particular report is definitely saying something, but its message may not be that accurate after all. The United States doesn’t have mandatory data retention laws for VPN services, many pirate platforms and streaming services are only available in the USA, and the majority of them remain unblocked in the country. For all these reasons, many pirates automatically pick a US-based server on their VPN tool before they access an illegal IPTV platform or they join peer-to-peer file sharing swarms.

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