Online copyright infringement is up, and water is still wet

During the Napster wars, Bruce Schneier famously quipped, "Making bits harder to copy is like making water less wet."

In the intervening years, legitimate/authorized services have grown and grown, generating more and more revenue for rightsholders and media companies. At the same time, copyright infringement has grown and grown -- and there's good evidence that the most prolific copyright infringers are also the most prolific media customers (that is to say, they are the most prolific media consumers, and they consume more of everything: torrents, official downloads, licensed streams, unlicensed streams, vinyl, old posters and memoribilia, etc etc).

The growth of legitimate services may have reduced infringement (it's impossible to do a controlled experiment in which one internet gets no legit services and another does, and then you measure the infringement), but it hasn't stopped it from growing; MUSO, which tracks infringement, has just published its annual "piracy report" and concluded that infringement is up. Again.

But revenues from legit services are also up. Again. Because even if legit services don't reduce infringement, they do promote non-infringement. Money talks and bullshit walks. You can cry in your beer about the hypothetical dollars you've lost to infringement, or take steps to ensure that people who want to pay for your stuff have the easiest possible path to do so -- and the more anti-infringement steps you take (hair-trigger account suspensions for suspected password sharing; onerous Digital Rights Management), the harder you make it to get paid for creative work.

Also, water is still wet.

Muso tracks piracy trends across various media categories and has spotted some interesting trends. TV-shows remain the most popular among pirates with 106.9 billion visits last year, followed by music (73.9 billion) and film (53.2 billion).

Mobile piracy is on the rise as well. For the first time, more people were accessing pirated TV content via mobile devices (52%) where desktops used to be the favorite device. In the music category, this difference is even more pronounced, with 87% using mobile devices. Last year desktops were still preferred among movie pirates, but MUSO expects this will change in 2018.

Annual Piracy Reports [MUSO]

Online Piracy Is More Popular Than Ever, Research Suggests [Ernesto/Torrentfreak]