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  • Writer's pictureOliver Walsh

Boosting Legitimate Content Consumption: The Impact of Site Blocking on Piracy and Legal Viewing Habits

A study by Chapman University and Carnegie Mellon University reveals that site blocking effectively reduces online piracy by directing consumers towards legal content sources, with a significant impact observed in APAC countries.

A new study by academics at Chapman University and Carnegie Mellon University has found that Site Blocking, one of the content-creating industry's key anti-piracy tactics, can be effective and drive consumers to legitimate content sources, according to Complete Music Update.

Impact of Site Blocking on Legal Content Consumption

"Website blocking in India in 2019 and 2020 caused an 8.1% and 3.1% increase in legal content consumption, and website blocking in Brazil in 2021 caused a 5.2% increase in legal consumption", the researchers noted.

"In short, our results suggest that piracy website blocking remains an effective strategy for increasing legal consumption of copyrighted content".

Understanding Site Blocking

Site Blocking is a process where copyright owners obtain injunctions from a court or authorised administrative body, which directs internet service providers to block access to piracy sites for their customers.

Regional Enforcement and Challenges

Site Blocking is a legal remedy available in several countries in the APAC region. Research conducted in 2023 by the Coalition Against Piracy (CAP) supports the Chapman University and Carnegie Mellon study. CAP noted that piracy rates have remained stable in many countries across Asia-Pacific. There has been a noticeable increase in piracy rates in countries without effective Site Blocking mechanisms, such as Hong Kong, Thailand, and Taiwan.

The Impact of Site Blocking in APAC Countries

Some APAC countries have successfully implemented Site Blocking to combat piracy. As a result, these efforts have led to a significant change in consumer behaviour. The CAP report notes, for instance, that "62% of consumers in Indonesia have altered their viewing habits, and in Malaysia, 64% have done the same due to blocking pirate sites". These countries have established regulatory systems that effectively and efficiently block websites.

Singapore's Success Story

Singapore was one of the first countries in the region to allow rights holders to protect their content through judicial Site Blocking measures. After almost a decade of this measure, "Singapore has the lowest percentage of consumer piracy in the region, with only 39% of consumers engaging in piracy".

Expert Insights on Site Blocking

Matt Cheetham, General Manager of CAP, stated,

"The evidence continues to show that site blocking, when implemented in an efficient and effective way, is an incredibly powerful tool to both stop online piracy and direct consumers towards legitimate content.

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