Piracy and illegal downloads are on the rise, and streaming platforms are to blame

According to new research, piracy and illegal downloading of movies/TV shows increased by 16% in 2021. We believe streaming services are to blame for this increase.


Anyone who was there in the early 2000s will remember this aggressive “piracy” very well. It’s an advertisement shown in cinemas, on DVDs and even on free television. You know this one; “You wouldn’t steal a car… Hacking is stealing. FLIGHT. IS AGAINST. THE LAW!’

And yet, most of us have downloaded a TV show or movie illegally, at least once. Although for any legal authority potentially reading this article, I have never done so and have never even heard of Pirate’s Bay

Piracy and illegal downloads were thought to be a thing of the past in Australia when streaming platforms, Netflix Australia and Stan arrived in 2015. I know a, uh, *friend* of mine who regularly downloaded shows and movies illegally, but stopped altogether once they got Netflix and Stan.

However, a recent report by Akamai found that in 2021, piracy rates in Australia increased by 16%; which means illegal downloads are on the rise again. And while streaming services were responsible for the drastic drop in piracy rates in 2015-2016, they are now likely to be responsible for the resurgence of piracy.

WATCH: In case you haven’t seen the infamous anti-piracy ad…

Why? Well, nowadays there are literally hundreds of streaming services available. In addition to Netflix and Stan, there’s also Binge, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV+, Paramount Plus, AMC+, Hayu, Kayo… just to name a few. And each of these platforms provides access to different content.

This means that if you want to access all the latest shows/movies as well as all the classics, you will need to subscribe to multiple platforms; which adds up, as each platform charges a monthly fee. Additionally, many franchises are not available in their entirety on a single streaming platform; which again means you’ll have to shell out big bucks to get all the platforms you’ll need to watch the franchises from start to finish.

For example, if you want to watch the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), you should subscribe to Disney+ (as they provide exclusive access to the majority of MCU movies and all MCU TV shows). But you’ll also need to subscribe to Binge or Stan, because Disney+ doesn’t have the second MCU movie. The Incredible Hulk (but Binge and Stan do), and Netflix, because Disney+ doesn’t have the twenty-third MCU movie Spider-Man: Far From Home (but Netflix does).

It’s common these days that in order to watch franchises (like the MCU) from start to finish, you have to subscribe to multiple streaming platforms. Image Credit: Marvel Studios

Therefore, watching the MCU in its entirety on streaming platforms would cost a minimum total of $32.98 per month (we used the cheapest subscription tier for each platform to calculate this cost), which equates to just under $400 for a set. year.

It’s frankly out of control. Especially since the simple solution that many have found – each friend in the group pays for a streaming platform, then you share all the passwords from each platform – will soon become more expensive; Netflix, for example, will soon charge users more if they want to share their password with others.

Ultimately, what I’m saying is that with the cost of living rising rapidly, many just can’t afford to pay for multiple streaming services, but many still want to be able to watch quality content; so the solution is, unfortunately, hacking. Indeed, pirating, or illegal downloading, is a free alternative to streaming platforms.

I must stress that neither I nor DMARGE condone pirating or illegal downloading of content in any way. I’m just pointing out that it’s likely that piracy rates have increased because there are now multiple streaming platforms available and it’s expensive to subscribe to all or most of them. It’s a classic tale; the cure becomes the problem…

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