U.S. Remains the Top Traffic Source For Pirate Sites

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With over a billion visits per month, the United States remains the number one traffic source for pirate sites worldwide. New data from piracy tracking company MUSO further shows that streaming sites remain extremely popular among pirates, although there are distinct regional preferences.

Over the past decade, online piracy has presented itself as a massive problem for the U.S. and its entertainment industries.

It has become a global issue that’s hard to contain, but Hollywood and the major record labels are doing what they can.

One of the key strategies they’ve employed in recent years is website blocking. US companies have taken ISPs to court around the world and also lobbied lawmakers to pave the way for website blocking.

While these companies have a tight grip on international developments, there’s one element that often remains unmentioned. The country that sends the most traffic to pirate sites is the U.S. itself.

This has been the case for years and the latest data, shared by piracy tracking company MUSO, shows that this is still the case.

With 1.2 billion pirate site visits in December 2019, the U.S. is firmly in the lead, followed by Russia (737 million), India (627 million), China (608 million) and Brazil (559 million). The U.S also happens to be the only country that doesn’t block any pirate sites.

Relatively speaking the U.S. also trumps all these countries with 4.17 visits per internet user in a month, except for Russia which has an even higher average (7.21).

Looking at the types of pirate sites we see that streaming is particularly popular in the U.S. Two-thirds of all pirate site traffic goes to streaming sites, followed by direct download portals (19%), torrent sites (8%) and stream rippers (5%).

Compared to two years ago, streaming sites have grown in relative popularity in the US, mostly at the expense of torrent sites.

U.S. pirate site marketshare December 2019

Piracy habits can be quite different around the world, as we highlighted in an earlier article. However, it’s clear that streaming continues to dominate in many countries.

In China, for example, streaming site visits rose from 22% to more than 40% in the space of two years. In Brazil, there was also a rise, with streaming visits going from 47% to 53%.

In Russia, there was a small dip, but streaming is still on top there as well with nearly 60%.

India appears to be somewhat of an outlier among the countries with the most traffic. Direct download sites are most popular there, accounting for 50% of all pirate site visits, which is up from 43% two years ago.

Worldwide, roughly 60% of all pirate site traffic goes to streaming sites, which is about the same as two years ago. The percentage of visits to direct download sites is up a bit, with a quarter of all visits, while torrent sites witnessed a small drop.

While scanning through the data we couldn’t help looking at South Africa, a country that is currently under fire from major US copyright groups. These rightsholders repeatedly pointed out that piracy is rampant, urging the government to do something about it.

Interestingly, the average number of pirate site visits per Internet user is lower in South Africa than it is in the U.S. This means that even when taking the population size into account, South Africa’s piracy problems are actually less in comparison.

This is something to keep in mind when U.S. rightsholders demand tough anti-piracy actions abroad in the future.


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