French Pirates Are Increasingly Turning to Legal Options

By Tom Pritchard on at

There are a lot of reasons why people resort to piracy to consume their media, but when asked to explain why the reasoning often includes things like convenience, cost, and difficulty accessing media legally. Some have claimed that legal streaming services will help kill off piracy, and in France that appears to be working. Not only as there fewer pirates in the country (presumably thanks to strict anti-piracy laws), more and more of them are turning to legal alternatives.

In the past France resorted to a system known as Hadopi, which would cut off internet access from people who were repeatedly caught sharing torrent files. These days that has become less effective thanks to the move towards streaming, which is much, much harder to trace. That's why it was suggested the French government launch a nationwide streaming blacklist to curb streaming piracy back in April. But despite that, the numbers seem to be on the decline.

According to a report from EY, French downloading and streaming rates dropped by 8 per cent between 2016 and 2017 - from 11.6 million to 10.6 million. What's more the amount of content pirates are accessing illegally has dropped, with consumption levels dropping below 4 per cent. While this doesn't mean pirates are ditching streaming altogether, it does mean a large number of them are willing to pay to access content. In fact the estimated number of pirates without a streaming subscription dropped by 30 per cent, so now more than half do pay for premium content.

Much of this change is being credited to Netflix, with 20 per cent more French pirates paying for the service in 2017. Streaming services are also credited for helping to reduce TV piracy within the country.

This should be an extra incentive for rights holders to make their content more widely available, and easy for consumers to access. Nobody can afford to access everything, which is why piracy levels will likely never reach zero, the better the availability and affordability the lower the rates of illegal access will be. [TorrentFreak]