Survey reveals a meager increase of 5%, but research suggests many have simply turned to illegal streaming services to circumvent the controversial IPRED law, data augmented by reports that it has only targeted 3 people to date and not the 800 or more the govt anticipated.
The other day I mentioned how piracy in France has actually increased since the passage of a controversial “three-strikes” law late last year, with 2/3 of former P2P users having simply switched to alternatives like illegal streaming sites and HTTP-based download services (i.e. Rapidshare).
Now it seems the same is happening in Sweden after similar attempts tackle illegal file-sharing. Almost one year after passage of IPRED, a law that allows copyright holders to seek a court order requiring ISPs to divulge the names of accused file-sharers, only 3 people have been targeted and not the 800 or more they were expecting.
In fact, several funds that were established to support people charged under the IPRED law have been put on hold.
“IPRED-law has not had the impact that someone in mind, no matter which side you are on,” said Marcin de Kaminski, a founder of the Bureau of Piracy, to the Svenska Dagbladet daily. “As it happened not so much, it is difficult to demonstrate if the law had been effective or whether they were intrusive. It’ll probably take another year or two before we can see more visible results.”
At first the law resulted in a huge drop off in Internet usage, but since then it’s surged to surpass pre-IPRED law levels.
So where have all the pirates gone? Alternatives like illegal streaming sites and HTTP-based download services (i.e. Rapidshare). According to one survey 60% of men aged 15-24yo admitted to using illegal streaming sites, and 40% of those aged 15-74yo.
“This is the same level as before IPRED,” says Media Vision’s Jens Heron.
The country’s Anti-Piracy Office is apparently well aware of the problem and promises to address it if their popularity increases.
“It is clear that there is a problem,” says Sara Lindbäck, an attorney for the group. “We focus on those who are streaming out material, and we see that these services become more popular, we will also act legally against them.”
As for good old-fashioned file-sharing, the numbers are up for that as well. Though down from 26% this time last year before IPRED, the current level, 16%, is up from 11% last September.
“It may be that the illegal file-sharing dipped in the first half and now is on the rise again, but it’s hard to say,” says Karin Zingmark, press manager at Viasat.
What is clear from it all that the law hasn’t had the intended “dampening effect” that copyright holders had hoped for. Laws will never be able to change the fact that many young people don’t think file-sharing is wrong, though Swedish youth have yet to make piracy a “national sport” as has their French brethren.
In fact, as researcher Kristoffer Schollin argued late last year, “file-sharing (in Sweden) is healthier than ever.”