• chevron_right

      2.6M Piracy Reports Against French Users Resulted in 234 Financial Penalties

      news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Tuesday, 18 June - 10:46 · 3 minutes


    French telecoms/audiovisual regulator Arcom has released its annual report covering 2023. At 199 pages, it’s a significant read; our narrow focus here will be on copyright and infringement-related matters.

    ‘Three Strikes’ Still Going Strong

    The French graduated response system (previously dubbed ‘Three Strikes’) launched in 2009/2010 to tackle widespread piracy of copyrighted content, carried out by internet users on peer-to-peer networks, predominantly BitTorrent and eD2K networks.

    The mechanism involves sending a series of escalating warning notices to subscribers whose connections have been monitored whilst sharing copyrighted content online, mostly movies, TV shows and music.

    Graduated response (Credit: Arcom, original in French) Arcom-Grad-Response-FR

    The ultimate goal of the scheme today is unchanged since the scheme’s inception; inform internet users that their piracy activities are being tracked by rightsholders and if that continues despite the warnings, consequences will follow. The big question is whether the mechanism produces positive results.

    Referrals Continue To Fall

    In general, graduated response warnings are designed to raise awareness and encourage changes in behavior. The data provided by Arcom represent a mixed bag of positives, some assumed positives, and what appears to be a failure to produce any gains in a key area.

    As the data below shows, the number of referrals by rightsholders to Arcom has been trending downwards for several years. With the continued popularity of centralized streaming and file-hosting services, mostly at the expense of consumption via BitTorrent, that’s to be expected.

    Arcom puts forward the success of the program as the main reason the figures are still coming down, but also acknowledges other factors.

    “This decrease results from a plurality of factors, such as the positive impact of the graduated response procedure, the transformation of practices regarding the consumption of cultural works on the internet, the acceleration of the dissemination of legal offers during the year, or even increasing use of workaround solutions (VPNs) by Internet users,” the regulator explains.

    Survey data indicates that 38% of internet users on a first warning say they now use a VPN.

    Change of Spec Boosts Accuracy, No Fall in Prosecution Rates

    2023 was an unusual year for detecting alleged infringers. For the first time, all French internet service providers were required to make identification of their subscribers easier by associating their IP addresses with their connections’ source ports.

    The aim here is to reduce complications stemming from IP addresses being shared with other subscribers. Arcom says this change produced a significant increase in the average detection rate; from 56% in 2022 to 77% in 2023.

    As a result, French internet users received 137,578 initial warnings, with 32,894 going on to receive a second. Around 10% of those failed to get the message, leading to findings of gross negligence against 3,844 internet users in ‘pre-criminal’ proceedings.

    A total of 1,526 cases were sent to the public prosecutor in 2023, versus 1,395 in 2022, and 1,484 in 2021.

    At the Punishment End, Very Little Changes

    Generally static data for 2021, 2022, and 2023, suggests that the scheme is likely ineffective against a subset of internet users. Given how unusually similar the figures are year-on-year, it’s also possible that processing capacity, referral quotas, or other artificial factors play a role in keeping levels stable.

    Taking zero notice of notices? 2021-2022-2023-arcom

    Nevertheless, at the sharp end of the scheme where persuasion and education run out of steam, only punishment remains. Of the 3,844 internet users labeled ‘grossly negligent’ just 41% (1,526) were referred to the prosecutor; that seems to suggest a better than 50/50 chance of avoiding immediate punishment.

    Of the 1,526 cases seen by the prosecutor, just 838 cases result in ‘known legal consequences’ for the subscriber involved. That looks like another 50/50 chance of avoiding punishment, but what actually happens to those involved is unclear.

    Relatively Few Internet Users Receive Financial Punishments

    Of the 838 cases that didn’t disappear into the ether, less than three in ten cases resulted in a financial penalty.

    “In 2023, 838 legal proceedings were brought to the attention of Arcom, of which 28% resulted in financial sanctions (fines or equivalent) whether they were criminal sanctions stricto sensu or alternatives to prosecution accompanied by the payment of a fine (criminal composition) or a citizen contribution (the amount of which, set by the Public Prosecutor, is paid to approved victim assistance associations,” Arcom explains.

    If the non-BitTorrent share of the piracy market continues to meet public demand via streaming and hosting services, it’s likely that Arcom will meet diminishing returns in its pursuit of peer-to-peer infringers. That being said, the number of users still sharing rather than streaming content is significant.

    Couple that with Arcom’s recent green light from the EU’s highest court to continue monitoring alleged infringers, it’s likely that no changes will be seen in the foreseeable future.

    From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

    • chevron_right

      Pirate Site Blocking Agency Reveals How and Why Pirates Circumvent Blocking

      news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Friday, 3 May - 13:38 · 5 minutes

    lockpick-s This year, major rightsholders are hoping that data from similar programs overseas will persuade Congress that site-blocking is a measured and reasonable response to surging worldwide piracy rates.

    The usual entrenched positions on whether site blocking is, or indeed is not, a type of censorship in conflict with free speech, will be heard once again. Yet on more neutral territory lies a debate that receives relatively little attention.

    Proponents of site blocking insist that it’s an essential front line response to piracy and data shows that it really does work. The other side of the coin shows that since the introduction of site-blocking, with a few dozen ‘notorious’ sites blocked in a handful of mainly European countries, when taken as a whole, piracy rates have only increased.

    That’s despite some nations’ blocklists easily exceeding 10,000 entries, a perpetual need to continuously add more domains and IP addresses, and more quietly behind the scenes, demands for more aggressive blocking measures, to counter constant circumvention. Even recently, the incredible number of domains blocked worldwide has been held up as a measure of success; there’s a sensible argument that the size of the list indicates quite the opposite.

    Site-Blocking Circumvention and Motivation

    On January 1, 2022, France launched Arcom, the Audiovisual and Digital Communication Regulatory Authority. Among other responsibilities, Arcom is the national anti-piracy agency that oversees site-blocking and other mitigation measures. It also carries out research hoping to better understand the piracy landscape while educating the masses yet to kick the piracy habit.

    This week Arcom published the results of a study titled ‘ Use of Internet Security Tools For the Purpose of Illicit Access to Digital Goods ‘. The study notes that since the launch of Arcom it’s been possible to block pirate sites much more quickly; between January and November 2022, around 800 sites were blocked by ISPs.

    In the last six months, Arcom says that 40% of pirate stream consumers have been “personally confronted with a site blockage” while 27% heard from close acquaintances that they had experienced that too.

    Through the study, Arcom hopes to better understand how and why, a representative sample of French internet users aged 15 and over, circumvent blocking.

    The Majority Are Savvy Users

    The study found that just under a third of respondents (31%) categorize themselves as more likely to be the last among their peers to use the latest technology. Almost four in ten (39%) consider themselves to be on par with others, while 30% place themselves on the cutting edge, eager to adopt and test new technology before most other people.

    Overall, Arcom believes that almost a quarter (24%) of French users pirated at least one item of content illegally during the last year. However, awareness of technologies that are used to circumvent site-blocking goes far beyond, even if some users don’t yet fully understand them.

    For example, the study found that 23% of internet users know that changing DNS settings is a way to circumvent pirate site blocking. Around 27% have heard of people changing DNS settings but don’t currently know what that means. Overall, 49% of internet users are aware of DNS modification, even if around half aren’t yet aware of its potential.

    Arcom report on site-blocking circumvention tools . (Original in French, translated by TF) arcom-dns-vpn-1

    The data on VPNs is remarkable. More than eight in ten (81%) French internet users have heard of VPNs, with just under a third (32%) still unsure of what VPNs are for.

    In contrast, 49% of internet users have heard of VPNs and their functionality, and 42% know from experience.

    Arcom report on site-blocking circumvention tools . (Original in French, translated by TF) arcom-dns-vpn-1

    Over the last 12 months, 29% of French internet users deployed a VPN and 20% modified their DNS settings. When the groups are combined (some VPN users also modified their DNS settings and vice versa), over a third (35%) of French internet users used one or both in the last year.

    Motivations and Illegal Consumption

    Since the 35% overall usage figure above exceeds the 24% of French citizens said to have pirated content in the last year, there must be other motivations to use VPNs and modify DNS settings. Among users exclusively using VPNs, 57% said their use involved ‘illicit practices’ with 46% citing protection from perceived online risks. For those who cited exclusive use of DNS modifications, the figures were lower at 46% and 35% respectively.

    Among VPN or DNS users as a whole, 66% said their use involved ‘illicit practices’ with 56% citing protection from perceived online risks.

    Overall, 46% of VPN users admitted to being consumers of illicit content while 54% of those who changed DNS parameters admitted the same. Among VPN users, 69% consider themselves as on par or ahead of most internet users when it comes to adopting, testing or using new technologies, a figure that falls to 54% for those who only modify their DNS records.

    Interestingly, reasons for illegal content consumption among VPN and DNS-modified users differ slightly from general consumers of illicit content.

    “Users of alternative VPNs or DNS declaring illegal practices justify them by citing problems of offers rather than costs (compared to all consumers engaging in illegal practices),” the study notes.

    Over half (56%) of VPN users who activate their connection before a specific action cite anonymity. Close to half (46%) say the reason is to enable access to sites unavailable in France, while just 14% cite gaining access to illegal sites blocked by ISPs in France.

    Piracy and Unblocking Pirate Sites Not a Priority

    While VPN use is regularly painted as a piracy indicator, Arcom’s study shows that protection of privacy is the main motivator, followed by security against hacking attempts, accessing geo-blocked content, and communicating with loved ones abroad via secure messaging.

    Arcom report on site-blocking circumvention tools . (Original in French, translated by TF) vpn-motivation

    Reasons for using a VPN for piracy purposes have a lower priority, although when narrowed to use among pirates exclusively, the figures are higher for pirates as one would expect. Regardless, protection of privacy, enhanced security, and granting access to otherwise restricted legal content, remain the key motivators.

    Regardless of Main Motivation, VPNs Unblock Without Prejudice

    Arcom reports that “recent VPN converts are more motivated by the ability to bypass blocks.” With at least hundreds of sites blocked in France, and tens of thousands more blocked all around the world, that’s to be expected.

    If those users are pleased with the VPN experience, in time they’ll simply forget that blocking even exists. After 15 years of site-blocking in dozens of countries, one has to wonder how prevalent that is.

    While clearly anecdotal evidence, our experience of what is now an extraordinary volume of site-blocking, is that the chaos it used to cause has long since gone.

    Email inquiries regarding site-blocking measures against site A and platform X were a regular occurrence up until around five years ago. When the most recent inquiry was received here is hard to say; in total, however, no more than a handful or two have been received in the last couple of thousand days.

    There could be a number of reasons for that, but a lack of site-blocking isn’t one of them.

    Arcom’s full report (French) can be found here (pdf)

    Image credits: StockCake

    From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

    • chevron_right

      L’Arcom continue sa chasse aux IPTV pirates

      news.movim.eu / JournalDuGeek · Friday, 3 May - 11:23

    Iptv Arcom Piratage

    En France, le streaming et le téléchargement diminuent. L'Arcom doit désormais concentrer ses efforts sur le live-streaming illégal.
    • chevron_right

      Va-t-on forcer les VPN à lutter contre le piratage ?

      news.movim.eu / Numerama · Tuesday, 30 April - 14:46


    Le bilan 2023 de l'Arcom observe une maitrise accrue des VPN et des DNS par les internautes adeptes du piratage. Pour l'institution, il est temps de s'interroger sur le détournement de ces deux outils légaux à des fins illicites.

    • chevron_right

      Vous regardez le foot en streaming pirate ? On a une mauvaise nouvelle pour vous

      news.movim.eu / Numerama · Tuesday, 30 April - 11:01

    piratage sport

    Depuis 2022, la lutte contre le piratage des matchs de sport a pris une toute nouvelle ampleur. En deux ans, des milliers de noms de domaine ont été bloqués. Une efficacité à nuancer cependant : d'après l'Arcom, la fréquentation des plateformes IPTV est en hausse continue depuis plusieurs années.

    • chevron_right

      Ce qui cloche avec le contrôle de l’âge par CB pour les sites pornos

      news.movim.eu / Numerama · Monday, 15 April - 13:19

    Le contrôle de l'âge pour accéder aux sites X fait son retour. Le régulateur du numérique a lancé une consultation sur un projet de référentiel. La solution retenue est celle de la vérification via la carte bancaire. Elle sera jugée valable au moins pour un temps. Cela, malgré les limites régulièrement pointées de cette approche.

    • chevron_right

      Les sites porno devront bientôt vérifier votre âge avec votre carte bancaire

      news.movim.eu / Korben · Thursday, 11 April - 07:34 · 3 minutes

    Je pense que cette news va faire mal aux fesses de beaucoup d’entre vous (désolé ^^) ! Figurez-vous que très bientôt, pour mater votre petite vidéo X sur vos sites de cul préférés, va falloir sortir la carte bleue . Et ouais, c’est la nouvelle lubie de nos chers dirigeants qui veulent à tout prix nous protéger, enfin surtout protéger les enfants de toutes ces cochonneries qui pullulent sur la toile.

    Certes, on est tous d’accord sur le principe, mais est-ce qu’on a vraiment besoin de fliquer tout le monde comme ça ? Et surtout, est-ce que c’est vraiment efficace comme méthode ?

    Parce que bon, soyons honnêtes deux minutes, un ado un peu dégourdi qui veut à tout prix mater un film de boules, va forcement trouver un moyen de contourner la censure hein. Quitte à piquer la carte de papa et maman pendant qu’ils ont le dos tourné. Ou alors il ira sur des sites plus underground, pas forcément très recommandables, et là bonjour les dégâts…

    Mais bon, c’est comme ça, c’est la loi, et va falloir faire avec. L’ Arcom , le gendarme de l’audiovisuel, vient donc de pondre son fameux référentiel (docx) qui détaille toutes les mesures que les sites pornos devront mettre en place pour vérifier que leurs utilisateurs ont bien la majorité sexuelle. Et autant vous dire que ça rigole pas !

    Déjà, va falloir prouver son âge avec sa carte bancaire . Alors ok, c’est pas forcément l’idéal niveau vie privée, mais au moins c’est efficace. Enfin, en théorie , parce qu’en pratique, rien n’empêche un ado de 16-17 ans d’avoir une carte bleue. Ensuite, les sites devront mettre en place un contrôle d’âge dès la page d’accueil , avant même d’afficher le moindre contenu olé olé. Et ça, ça va en faire râler les plus pressés d’entre vous ^^.

    Et attention, c’est pas fini ! Les sites devront aussi s’assurer que leur système de vérification d’âge est fiable à 100% . Alors là, bon courage… Parce qu’entre ceux qui vont essayer de gruger avec de fausses cartes d’identité, des scans retouchés ou je ne sais quoi encore, ça va pas être de la tarte. Mais les éditeurs n’auront pas le choix, car si jamais l’un de leurs sites se fait gauler par l’Arcom en train de diffuser du contenu pornographique à un mineur, c’est pas juste une petite tape sur les doigts qu’ils vont se prendre. Non non, ce sera carrément une amende qui peut aller jusqu’à 250 000 euros, ou 4% du chiffre d’affaires mondial. Autant dire que ça calme direct !

    Et si jamais le site fait le mariole et refuse d’obtempérer malgré les mises en demeure, et bien ce sera le blocage pur et simple qui l’attendra. Son nom de domaine sera bloqué par les FAI grâce à la toute POUISSANCE DU BLOCAGE PAR DNS (ah-ah), et basta. Pas de pitié pour les contrevenants !

    Bon, et sinon, ça va se passer comment concrètement tout ce bordel ?

    Eh bien figurez-vous que l’Arcom, dans son immense bonté, a prévu une période de transition de 6 mois . Pendant ce temps-là, les sites porno pourront se contenter d’une simple vérification de la carte bancaire, sans forcément aller jusqu’à l’authentification forte avec le fameux 3D Secure. Mais, ils devront tous avoir mis en place des solutions qui respecteront le cahier des charges strict de l’Arcom, avec notamment une sécurisation sans faille des données personnelles des utilisateurs. Je sais d’avance comment ça va se terminer… loool.

    Enfin, dernière petite subtilité, et non des moindres : ce contrôle d’âge ne s’appliquera pas seulement aux sites basés en France, mais aussi à tous ceux installés à l’étranger et accessibles depuis la France. Alors ok, pour les gros sites genre Jacquie et Michel ou Dorcel, ça devrait pas poser trop de problèmes, mais pour les petits sites plus modestes, ça risque d’être une autre paire de manches…

    Au moins vous savez maintenant ce qui vous attend.


    • chevron_right

      France: Streaming & DDL Piracy Fall But Cloud & Usenet Boosts Wipe Out Gains

      news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Wednesday, 13 December, 2023 - 14:03 · 4 minutes

    Arcom For more than a decade, the French government has produced a report detailing the digital content consumption habits of French internet users.

    Currently produced by telecoms regulator Arcom, the content consumption barometer report quantifies consumption of major content categories including movies, TV shows, live sports broadcasts, music, video games, software, and audiobooks, among others. It aims to profile consumers of content, map changes in consumption habits and sources, and gauge public perception of legal content availability. Arcom published the report’s 2023 edition yesterday.

    Overall Exposure to Cultural Content

    In terms of overall exposure to digital cultural and sporting content, the report estimates that 87% of internet users aged 15 and over, around 45 million people, were consumers in 2023. That’s up from 86% in 2022.

    Of the dozen content categories covered in the report, movies were consumed by 55%, music by 50%, and TV series by 49%, meaning no change in the most popular content categories consumed in 2023 versus last year.

    Paying (And Not Paying) For Content

    For 2023, Arcom reports that 61% of consumers or 27.5 million people, paid to consume digital content online. This year the average monthly spend was €38.00 ($41.00) per month, a significant increase from the €32.00 ($34.50) reported in 2022. The report notes that this is the biggest increase in average spending in recent years, with Arcom describing the uplift as “remarkable” in the context of price inflation.

    One of Arcom’s key responsibilities is to reduce piracy rates. In 2021, around 27% of internet users consumed at least one piece of pirated content, a figure that reduced to 24% in 2022.

    Arcom introduces 2023’s overall piracy rate as follows: “The fall observed in 2022 in the proportion of illegal consumption of digital cultural and sporting content has continued this year,” while later adding, “..this continues the decline seen in 2022.”

    While this year’s figures are provided, the “fall observed in 2022” was actually the difference between an overall rate of 27% in 2021 and 24% in 2022, in other words a three percentage point reduction in the overall piracy rate, aka success. Perhaps a less ambiguous statement would’ve been more helpful to describe the state of play this year.

    In 2023 there was zero reduction in the overall piracy rate, i.e. the rate is static year-on-year. In common with 2022, in 2023 around 24% of internet users still consumed at least one piece of pirated content. The report describes this as illegal content consumption “leveling off.”

    Appetite For Piracy Wanes With Age

    In common with most other studies conducted in Europe, piracy rates are higher among younger people in France and lower among the older generations.

    “The 15-24 and 25-39 age groups are the biggest consumers of illegal digital cultural and sporting content (46% and 36% respectively). Conversely, only 16% of 40–59-year-olds and 7% of 60+ year-olds are involved,” the report notes.

    When drilling down into content categories, the report says that a drop in illegal consumption was observed in a quarter.

    “This is particularly the case for films and music, two of the three content categories with the highest levels of illegal consumption by internet users in 2022 (-1 point each, to 12% and 6% of internet users respectively),” Arcom reports.

    “While illegal consumption of TV series, the second most pirated content in 2022, remains stable in 2023 within the internet user population (9% illegal consumption), there has been a slight fall among those who consume it (18%, -1 point).”

    Consumption of Illegal Streams & Downloads Fall

    The two most popular methods of obtaining infringing content in France are streaming and direct downloading, often referred to as DDL. However, this year’s report from Arcom finds that both methods experienced declining popularity in 2023.

    While remaining the most frequently used method among consumers overall (49% and 38% respectively), streaming fell two percentage points and downloading four percentage points versus rates in 2022.

    Arcom says that these declines in two key categories demonstrate “the positive effects of the anti-piracy measures implemented in 2022 and 2023.” While that may well be the case, if overall piracy rates remained static this year, something else must’ve taken up the slack.

    As the Arcom graph shows, remarkable gains are on display in two categories. In 2022, services in the ‘Usenet and newsgroups’ category were used by 11% of French internet users but in 2023, that figure has increased to 16%. The other category climbing quickly, Cloud services, reached a peak of 21% in 2020 and then fell to 19% and 16% in 2021 and 2022 respectively.

    In 2023, improved privacy versus other illicit content access methods may have contributed to Cloud services’ 2020-equalling usage rate of 21%.

    Illegal Access Rates Overall

    Arcom reports a “stabilization” in illicit consumption of live sports broadcasts for 2023. This year’s rate of 4% is identical to that reported in 2022, but still an improvement over 2021 where 6% of internet users consumed liver sports from illegal sources.

    In summary, illegal streaming was used by 49% of internet users in 2023, direct downloading (DDL) by 38%, social networks by 32%, with peer-to-peer networks such as BitTorrent hanging on to around 26% of users.

    The surprise package of Usenet (16%) and Cloud services (21%) returning to rates not seen since 2020 might be the trend to watch since Arcom has much less control over these methods. Deterring the use of streaming and downloading services may be considered a success, but that could be tempered if more complex issues are encountered further down the road.

    Arcom’s 2023 Barometer report is available here (pdf, French)

    From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.